Not for google, but in yahoo and bing it is still effective...
That's a good point.
Now, Google certainly examine's the tag, as the keyowrds tag is a search engine tag and also because Google covers and considers every line of code; regardless of what it is. The meta keywords tags is an indicator as to what you feel are the important keywords/keyphrases for each web page. It may decisively disagree.
The original poster made suggestions that were too vague for my liking, too generic. Rather than something like "books,publish,reading,author,genres,cover,novel", I'd try something more like "painting book romance novel published author Fred Joly".