The TV Book Club 2010

I recently mentioned the new TV Book Club, launched to replace the Richard and Judy Book Club on More4 and Channel 4 in the UK.

The TV Book Club has now announced it’s selection for 2010:

The Little Stranger – Sarah Waters (Featured on 17th January)


Blacklands – Belinda Bauer (Featured on 24th January)

Sacred Hearts – Sarah Dunant (Featured on 31st January)

Juliet, Naked – Nick Hornby (Featured on 7th February)

Cutting for Stone – Abraham Verghese (Featured on 14th February)

The Rapture – Liz Jensen (Featured on 21st February)

Brixton Beach – Roma Tearne (Featured on 28th February)

The Way Home – George Pelecanos (Featured on 7th March)

Wedlock: How Georgian Britain’s Worst Husband Met His Match – Wendy Moore(Featured on 21st March)

The Silver Linings Playbook – Matthew Quick (Featured on 28th March)

Unsurprisingly they look exactly like selections from previous Richard and Judy years (Amanda Ross picked the books for both clubs). Last year I enjoyed reading the complete list, but I don’t think I’ll do that again this year. I have already read The Little Stranger (see my review here) and have had Cutting for Stone on my wish list for a while, as I have heard so many great things about it. I’m not sure how many of the others to attempt – they all appeal to some extent, but I’m not sure I want to squeeze them in to my already massive TBR pile.

Have you read any of these books?

Which do you think I’d enjoy the most?

Blogging Other

The Best Posts on Farm Lane Books Blog

I love lists and have had quite a few new subscribers to my blog recently, so for all those who are new here I’ve produced these lists of my best posts:

The Most Popular Posts

  1. The best books for three-year-old boys
  2. The Richard and Judy Book Club 2010
  3. The Necklace – Guy de Maupassant (Short Story)
  4. The Best Books of 2010? Part 1: Authors We Know and Love
  5. The Best Books of 2010? Part 2: Debut/Lesser Known Authors
  6. Is Google Wave Useful?
  7. A Beginner’s Guide to Joining the Book Blogging Community
  8. A Beginner’s Guide to Google Wave
  9. The Best Books of 2009
  10. How to put boxes around your text – an idiot’s guide!


The Most Useful Posts

  1. A Beginner’s Guide to Joining the Book Blogging Community
  2. The importance of branding your book blog
  3. A Beginner’s Guide to Google Wave
  4. The Most Useful WordPress Plug-ins for Book Bloggers
  5. How to put boxes around your text – an idiot’s guide!
  6. How to get Links to Appear in Google Reader
  7. Do leaders make better bloggers?
  8. Bloggiesta Mini Challenge: Backing up Your Blog
  9. Ten Blogs with Great Layout Ideas
  10. 8 things to blog about when you haven’t read any books


The Biggest Conversations

  1. The importance of honest book reviews
  2. Book dating – is a shared taste in books important?
  3. Is Google Wave Useful?
  4. Do leaders make better bloggers?
  5. Does using Twitter make you a better blogger?
  6. What shape is your rating system?
  7. What do you think of adverts?
  8. Lurkers – What would make you show your face?

I’ve added the list of most popular/most useful posts to the sidebar and will try to keep them updated as they change.

If you’re on wordpress and like to produce a similar list then take a look at the Top 10 plugin.


My Bloggiesta Plans


This weekend Blogggiesta! encourages us to do all those little things that would make our blog better, but always seem to put off for another day.

There are so many things I’d like to do, but I’m not sure how many I’ll be able to fit into one weekend.


Here’s my list of tasks – I’ll cross them as I complete them.

1. Finish my tagging posts for my A-Z review page.

2. Write Twilight review.

3. Write Wind-up Bird Chronicle review

4. Add my Delicious links to side bar

5. Create a post containing a list of my most popular/most useful posts.

6. Complete a few of the Bloggiesta mini-challenges.

7. TBD!!

Blogging Other

Bloggiesta Mini Challenge: Backing up Your Blog


Welcome to the Bloggiesta Back-up Challenge!

This mini challenge is part of the Blogggiesta! – hosted by Maw Books



Can you imagine losing your blog?

Try to think about how devastated you’d be if you woke up one morning and found that all your posts had disappeared. I can’t imagine starting out again from scratch – it must be heartbreaking, it feels like losing big bets on with your favorite casino games. How frustrating is that?

The threat of losing your blog is real and could happen to any of us without warning. Viruses, hardware problems and technical issues within your server provider are among the numerous causes of data loss. The good news is that we can all back-up our blogs so that we are able to retrieve everything if disaster strikes.

Backing up can seem like a daunting exercise, but it isn’t that hard – it takes just seconds to save all your precious posts.

Saving your Posts and Comments

All the writing within your posts and the comments can be backed up by creating an .xml file. As well as saving it to your computer it is a good idea to copy it onto a CD, memory stick, or external hard drive that you can then take to another house – you can never be too careful when it comes to the blog you’ve worked so hard on.

a) Blogger Blogs

Click on the Settings tab on your blogger main menu.

Click on Export Blog in the top centre of the screen.


Click on Download Blog and then save your blog in a safe place on your computer. Your posts can then be reinstated by clicking on Import Blog to the left.

b) WordPress Blogs

Click on the Export tab under the Tools menu of your WordPress Dashboard.


Click on Download Blog and then save your blog in a safe place on your computer. Your posts can then be reinstated by clicking on Import, also under the Tools Menu.

Saving your Images/Photographs

Unfortunately the .xml file you created above will not save the images or other media files that you have uploaded to your blog. It is a good idea to create an upload folder, containing everything you have uploaded to your blog.  You can then regularly copy this to a safe place too.

Please note: if you’d like to easily reinstall your blog then you need to maintain the file structure that your blog uses to store photos. This commonly means storing all images in folders according to the month they were uploaded. Check your own settings to see how your files are named.

What next?

That’s it! Now you can relax in the knowledge that your blog’s contents is safe for another day!

To see the other Bloggiesta challenges and join in the festivities visit Maw Books.

2009 2010 Science Fiction Uncategorized

The Infinities – John Banville

The Infinities is one of those rare books that I enjoyed despite the lack of any real plot.  It is a gentle, reflective book observing a household for one day, as the father lies dying in his bed. You’ve probably read lots of books that sound similar to that, but what makes this one special is that it is narrated by a playful God.

But what attention we lavished on the making of this poor place! The lengths we went to, the pains we took, that it should be plausible in every detail – planting in the rocks the fossils of outlandish creatures that never existed, distributing fake dark matter throughout the universe, even setting up in the cosmos the faintest of faint hums to mimic the reverberations of the initiating shot that is supposed to have set the whole shooting-match going.

This book questions many of our beliefs, so probably isn’t for those with a strong religious background, but anyone who is tolerant of religious satire will find a lot to enjoy. The above quote is a good example of the gentle humour in the book, so if you were offended by that, avoid it.

Nothing can be taken at face value in this book. At first it seems like a typical household, but it is soon revealed that it isn’t in our world, but in a similar, parallel universe in which there are subtle differences:

….the greater part of the world’s energy nowadays is converted from brine.

It is easy to miss these little oddities and I often found myself re-reading to check that I had read it correctly. There were several things that didn’t quite ring true, but I wasn’t entirely sure. I’m not going to admit what I looked up on wikipedia, but it is a very clever book that makes you question things you know to be true – so much that you are forced to look them up.

The main thing that let this book down was the lack of plot, but I also felt that many of the characters were not developed properly – they were more like objects in a bizarre world; there to serve a purpose in the weird narrative, rather than people to love and bond with. These were minor issues though, and I feel this is a much more accomplished work than The Sea (which won the Booker prize in 2005).




Have you read any of John Banville’s books?

Which is your favourite?


The winners are…

The winners of Linda Strachan’s book are….

Julie Booth
Ruth Worthington


I’ll be emailing the winners later today and posting a copy of Writing for Children to them as soon as the snow melts enough for me to get to the post office!