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The Man Booker & Things I’ve Seen Online.

So the Man Booker prize has been declared, and the world’s media for once a year pretends to be interested in books.

Author and columnist Howard Jacobson has won the Man Booker Prize for his comic novel The Finkler Question.

Jacobson, who beat contenders including double winner Peter Carey, received the £50,000 prize at London’s Guildhall.

Chair of judges, Sir Andrew Motion, described the 68-year-old author’s book as “very funny, of course, but also very clever, very sad and very subtle”.

As a genre award, I like what the Man Booker offers – once you put aside just how painfully middle-class it all is. This is an award where people put what they think are deserving books into the limelight and say, quite simply: discuss. Whether or not you’re disappointed that so-and-so didn’t make the cut, there is something about generating discussion which is integral to literature and also selling books, which supports the industry. I always think that the usefulness of an award shows in the amount of discussion of the books that ensues. It’s why the Arthur C. Clarke Award is good (though perhaps has a minimal impact on sales compared to the Man Booker). The other good thing about the Man Booker (and the Clarkes) is that it seldom seems to have cliques; that is, new judges each year keep things relatively fresh and stops the same old faces being involved. This is useful, and makes the awards more honest – and therefore serves the genre of literary fiction well.

Other things I’ve seen online today: Cheryl Morgan discusses the Equalities and Human Rights Commission’s new report.

Also, this blog claims that Amazon’s astroturf campaign (regarding the Kindle) has been exposed:

And then there was this comment from Piper Stockton: “I like reading and at the beginning I did miss a bit on the feeling of reading books. But now I love to hold the Kindle, the e-ink seems to work very well, it is really like reading books…”

All of the messages came in within minutes of each other, although they all cited different authors, gave different email addresses, and came from different IP addresses. But there was one notable thing beyond their similarity: they all cited the same url.

Who knows why someone would go through such a laborious effort and then flag their fakery for me like that. More important is the evidence this provides that Amazon, as I have suspected all along, either fosters or more likely employs astroturfers — that is, people to conduct a fake grass-roots campaign in support of the company and its products and tactics.

And here’s the question: If Amazon goes to such lengths to plant disinformation at little ole MobyLives, can you imagine the scale of their efforts to misinform bigger, more influential media?

By Mark Newton

Born in 1981, live in the UK. I write about strange things.

5 replies on “The Man Booker & Things I’ve Seen Online.”

before the announcement I read (from) all the other five shortlisted books except the Finkler Question.

I loved Room which I reviewed and I think it’s the best there; I liked a lot In a Strange Room (review soon) whose weaker third story took a bit away from awesome first one and excellent second, strongly disliked C for pretentious jargon screaming “i am an important book”, got bored by Parrot and Olivier by page 100 and stopped there for now and was “interesting but not quite what i want to read” on the Long song from which i read maybe a half in snippets so far.

after the win and since Finkler just got published here in the US, I picked a copy this evening and I read some 40 pages and indeed it is funny in a bittersweet way; an easy reading book too with no pretentiousness and while i do not plan to read it continually, I will read it in spurts especially when i feel down since it’s cheerful in its way

A book for our uncertain times i would say

Regarding the Booker, i did a short post yesterday with basically the above.

Room (done), In a strange Room (this week) reviewed, and i will most likely review the Finkler Question too.

I really want to finish Parrot and Olivier since I heard it gets better later, but so far one character (Olivier) is so annoying that i wished he got offed not his best friend in the scuffles that sent him scurrying to America and the other so bland that is hard to read more, first person narration considering

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