Somehow though getting a prize for flogging dead horses to gullible fools like me, while getting paid, seems wrong, especially at a time when publishers are crying poor. I wish they would stop lavishing money on publicity and spend it instead on providing books I might actually enjoy reading. After all, there are plenty of really clever bloggers who are already doing their publicity for them without being paid for it: they write about what they read, usually with far more insight and wit than any publicity agent could muster.
Nowadays, if a book hasn't been recommended by someone I know and trust or by one of the many excellent intelligent bloggers I read, who operate independent of the professional publicity mill, I am reluctant to pick it up. This could be one way in which blogs - not frivolous unfocussed ones like this one, but the kind that devote themselves to one field only - might change things for the better.
I don't suppose it will happen though. There are far too many people with too much invested, (namely, their careers), in keeping things just the way they are. The young man in Caught on a Train, with his 'important work' in Linz, in preparation for the Frankfurt Book Fair, was an early embodiment of the type I mean: