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Farm Lane Books is Five!



Five Years Ago

Five years ago I published my first post on this blog. The blogging world was very different back then. I followed about 250 blogs on google reader and that enabled me to know and interact with almost everyone in the world that had a book blog at the time. It was a close-knit community and I commented on YA, science fiction and chick-lit blogs just as often as literature ones. Finding someone with a similar taste in books was a rare, joyous celebration and many of the bloggers I met back then became good friends – both real and virtual.


Since then things have changed a lot. The number of blogs has exploded and it is no longer possible to follow everyone with a similar taste in books, let alone keep up with different genres. Google reader no longer exists and social media is now dominating the blogging world. I’ve cut back on my blogging time and no longer try to post every day. I’m hoping that I can maintain 2 or 3  posts a week and concentrate on books that beg to be talked about. I’ll continue to review every book I finish, but I suspect that many more will be bundled together in shorter summary posts. I also hope to include more posts that enable you to discover books you hadn’t heard of. To begin that process I’m going to celebrate five years with a 5×5 of book love: my five favorite books in five different categories….


My Five Favourite Fiction Books

A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry

Fingersmith by Sarah Waters

Blindness by José Saramago

The Prestige by Christopher Priest

HHhH by Laurent Binet


Far From The Tree: A Dozen Kinds of Love

My Five Favourite Non-Fiction Books

Far From the Tree by Andrew Solomon

The Mountain People by Colin Turnbull

Leviathan by Philip Hoare

People Who Eat Darkness by Richard Lloyd Parry

Nothing To Envy by Barbara Demick



My Five Favourite Audio Books

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

Testimony by Anita Shreve

Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith

Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend by Matthew Green

My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece by Annabel Pitcher



My Five Favourite Children’s Books

George’s Marvellous Medicine by Roald Dahl

Z For Zachariah by Robert C O’Brien

The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson

Duncton Wood by William Horwood

Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C O’Brien


The Half Brother

My Five Favourite Lesser Known Books

The Harlot’s Progress: Yorkshire Molly – Peter Mottley

Ingenious Pain by Andrew Miller

When I Was Five I Killed Howard Buten

The History of History – Ida Hattemer-Higgins

The Half Brother by Lars Saaybye Christensen


Do I share any of my favourites with you?

Do you plan to try any of my favourite books soon?



31 replies on “Farm Lane Books is Five!”

Congrats on your 5 years. Hard to believe we’ve been around that long, through all the changes and controversies. Glad you are planning on sticking around; it seems that so many of our group have disappeared.

Beth, Yes, it is so sad to see everyone quit. It is impossible to keep up that initial momentum after so many years, but hopefully the few of us that are left will keep going. I look forward to our 10th anniversary!!

Happy Fifth Blogbirthday Jackie. Somehow I thought you’d been blogging longer than me, but I beat you by a fortnight! 🙂

Yours is one of the few blogs on my toolbar that I check out every day. I look forward to reading it for years to come. Your list reminds me that I really ought to read … well … several of your favourite books, including the first and last that you list.

I have such sentimentality over our group of bloggers that all started around this same time. My 5 years will come right as I’m taking a break (permanent or not is still to be determined). It was a great group of people, and definitely things have drastically changed since then. I love this post though…I’m going to mark it because I do trust your judgement and have read several of these because of you! (I still need to read HHhH!!! Once I check out, I can read what I want!!!)

Congratulations and Happy Blogiversary, Jackie! Five years is a fantastic accomplishment. It’s pretty amazing the changes you have seen to the book blogging community in just 5 years. I enjoy reading your blog so much. I know I don’t comment much but I can always count on sincere solid reviews from you and you read so many books that I almost always find you’ve read a book I’m wondering about.

It’s hard to blog everyday over the years but 2 or 3 days a week sounds manageable, I hope it is because I’d hate for you and your blog to pack it in! Here’s to another wonderful 5 years of blogging!

I’ll add my congratulations to the pile, if I may.

I’ve read only A Fine Balance (on your recommendation) and Testimony (although mine was not the audio version). Your post reminds me, though, that I must move Fingersmith to the top of my TBR wish list.

I hope you have many more years of happy blogging!

Congratulations Jackie, 5 Years!
How does one celebrate that?

I remember how I first came across your blog. I was actually reading a review about “The Elegance of the Hedgehog” to see what on earth I had missed and why I seemed to be the only one out there who hated that book, when I came across a comment of yours. I was so thrilled to come across someone who dislike the book just as much as I had, that I clicked onto the link which somehow put me through to your private email. Remember? You redirected me to your blog, and I’ve been hooked on your site ever since. I read every entry and now that I think about it, I should actually comment more often. Somehow it doesn’t seem right then I take what I want without leaving any feedback. Your reading tastes are very similar to mine and you have introduced me to loads of books that I might otherwise not have read.
Thanks for still sticking around. You’re doing a fantastic job and are never boring.

Happy fifth blogiversary, Jackie! It’s been interesting to see how much things have changed and read your thoughts on the state of blogging today. Quite a few people have been posting about it; I haven’t if only because I think it’s obvious how much my blogging has changed.

I know I’ve added HHhH and Nothing to Envy to my to-read list because of you, and I’ve read Child 44, although not on audiobook. And now I’m off to look through your list of five favorite lesser known books in more detail. Congrats again!

Congratulations on 5 years, Jackie! My book blog reading has really fallen off in the past year since we started on our travels but I still look forward to your reviews whenever they pop in my not-Google reader! I think it’s great that you’ve managed to maintain your blog and your passion for it for this long; the changes in style along they way have just been part of your evolution!

Congrats on the Big 5 Jackie. I was 5 in June and find continuing to feel like a job sometimes instead of fun. I’ve given myself permission to post only when I feel like it these days and that seems to work.

I love your lists and have enjoyed many of the books you mentioned, especially Sarah Waters.

Here is to more happy years online.

Congratulations. We share several favorites as you know. I’m all for doing fewer posts. I think now that there are too many blogs to follow them all every day, it’s much easier to keep up with them If the blogger prefers quality over quantity.

Congratulations on 5 years, Jackie! I’ll be celebrating that milestone in a few weeks, too. We share several favorites – A Fine Balance, Fingersmith, and the audio version of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. A few of the other others are still on my wish list.

Congratulations, Jackie! 250 sounds at once a lot and yet do-able. I suppose when you know it’s 250 and that’s it it is a lot easier to keep up with everyone. Of your list I like the Roald Dahl, and I want to read the Waters.

My own will be five this end November 2013. I can’t believe you are only five because your blog feels so much established and warrant so wider readership than mine does.

5 years and still going strong. You are marvelous Jackie. 🙂

I’ve just found your blog for the first time so I feel a bit shameful – am thinking “what the hell have I been doing for the last 5 years…where have I been?!” But congratulations on 5 years – am guessing you get a telegram or a long service medal from the Queen (or at least Helen Mirren in those brogues) for 5 years of book blogging! Your favourites lists is really interesting – I share a few “I Love that too’s” with your list but there are others I’ve not read (there are some I’ve not ever heard of!) But I’ll look out for them – and I promise to pay more attention and come back here much more often between now and 2018!

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