I was very disappointed not to get a copy of The Lace Reader as an ARC and I have been looking forward to its release. After reading the many good reviews among the blogoscenti, I took a look at the review in the New York Times by Janet Maslin and I was absolutely floored by this phrase:
Women write books that other women will want to sit around and discuss, preferably over tea and cucumber sandwiches.
I’m not sure if I’m more insulted by the implication that women readers sit around chatting about books and knitting tea cozies, or the insinuation that this is all that women writers aspire to. I suppose I shouldn’t be shocked that such a misogynist statement comes from a female reviewer, but I am.
For the record, I knit and I drink tea. And while I read all sorts of novels – historical fiction, spy novels, horror novels, murder mysteries, psychological thrillers, fiction and nonfiction, biographies and memoirs – I have never discussed a book over a cucumber sandwich.
What do you think? Does this strike you as being pretty dismissive of women readers and writers?