Tea and Biscuits Discussions: The “Round Table” of The New York Times

As many of your know, and if you don’t know about this article, then read on because I am going to be telling you all about it. There was a article that came out at the end of September and it was BIG news for the romance book community. It was on the front page, featured images of some of our favorite romances and authors. When I first heard about this article I was ecstatic, I mean especially with the New York Times considering their stance on romances and they haven’t been the best source to find those good romances that are keepers on the shelf.  So to see such a big time newspaper feature  a romance article I was intrigued. At first, I only skimmed it and didn’t really read it to be honest. I was a bit tired after a long day at work and then a few days ago, I kept seeing a ton of negative comments on twitter and on my blog feed about this article, and I was curious about what was so bad about it? So I just needed to know and wanted to put in my two cents since romance has brought so many good things for me. If you are curious and haven’t read this article check it out HERE

Well I read the article and couldn’t believe that words that were written. I was actually pretty shocked to tell you the truth. Because this writer (and I could care less about his credentials) knows nothing about what romance fiction is actually about. My overall feeling after reading his article, was a numb like feeling, with mixes of anger and frustration and it definitely had hardly any positive outlook on romance novels, and if there were some positive comments, it was written in such a way that came off as sexist and demeaning. It is obvious that the author of the article Robert Gottlieb is very condescending when it comes to women especially and many things he says here are something you would expect from the 70’s. It is interesting that they would choose someone that obviously doesn’t understand the genre at all. I would have preferred someone that at least enjoyed reading romance, but could still write a article that is objective.

I have lost much of my respect for The New York Times after reading this, I still can’t believe that the editors were okay with this article being published. It would have been nice if they had picked someone younger than say 80 years old right? Someone that isn’t sexist, racist, misogynistic and prejudiced against the romance genre. Well hats off to you Mr. Gottlieb for insulting a multi million dollar business and hundreds of thousands of the readers that love and admire this genre. Another downer on what he mentions is the genres. Its another obvious reason he doesn’t read romance because he implies that there is only two genres in romance contemporary and historical (regency) and I was like WHOA!! Rewind, because there are so many sub genres in romance. It may have been historical and contemporary ten or fifteen years ago however today there are many sub genres in romance like: Various era in historical, contemporary, new adult, paranormal, fantasy, urban fantasy, science fiction, mystery and dystopian/futuristic.

I really struggle with people that have this view of romance, and you know what I work with many of these type of people. It just would have been nice to have an article in the NYT that portrayed a positive outlook on romance instead of this condescending words that made me feel lower than low. But I guess it has its upsides too its just hard to see. I think there are a few positives even if its not what we want as readers and lovers of this genre. If you ignore the writing, we see photos of some great authors that are being recognized—but it is a bittersweet feeling. My overall thoughts on this article is that I am highly disappointed that such an article was written, in fact it saddens me that this type of article was even written.

Have you read this article yet? What are your thoughts on it?

What do you appreciate most about romance?

  • I read this article and rolled my eyes throughout. I will never understand this condescension towards romance. It might not be for everyone, but it’s still geared towards millions and millions people globally. Like what is your problem if people enjoy romance of ANY kind???? Don’t you have anything better to do than to waste your time slamming a genre that’s beloved by many? It’s just so frustrating and honestly, baffling. It’s complete rubbish.

    • oh I know….so much condescension it just made me grit my teeth. I am fine that its not for everyone, but don’t discriminate or demean what others like to read just because its not your preference. It just baffles me that NYT even published this.

  • I read the article, considered the source and tossed it. When a journalist knows nothing about the topic he chooses I have no interest in his thoughts. Great post 🙂

    • Thanks Kimba….total nonsense is what he wrote right? I mean it would have been better if the author of the article had been at least objective and he was the total opposite of that. So frustrating.

  • I read the article. then read the follow up they did after getting tons of comments slamming them. They stuck to their original article stating that it was that reviewers thoughts and they didn’t give the books to someone who loved romance because they couldn’t be objective.
    I found the whole thing to be offensive. The reviewer basically ‘man-splaines’ everything and the NYTimes supported it. Just awful! And to make readers of romance feel inferior for their choice is unacceptable. I would rather they just not review it at all if they can’t be open minded.

    • oh I know…I mean I know people feel this way, but what was frustrating is that NYT would support such an article. I really have issues with their choice of author of the article who probably has never really read a true romance. or if he has its not a genre he likes at all and trashes it all the time which was obvious in the article.

  • Michele H

    While he’s entitled to his own opinion, a story for the NYT is the place for actual facts–and obviously he didn’t do much research before writing this piece (of garbage). Way to offend one of the biggest group of readers and one of the most profitable genres in literature today.

    • I agree that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, I mean there are some genres in fiction that aren’t my favorite but I don’t slam it or demean those that love those genres just because its not something I prefer to read. What he wrote was horrid to be honest, so sexist and seemed like an article you would read in the 70’s not 2017 right? And it is one of the top profitable genres out there. That should say something right?

  • I was very disappointed in that article too. It’s hard for to understand why so many people think it’s okay to bash romance novels. I don’t think everyone has to like them. Romance isn’t for every single person, but show some respect please. And in case of Gottlieb, he clearly didn’t do an research. And there is no excuse for that. There are a number of articles out that about the genre that are objective.

    • I agree. I don’t understand why people bash romances all the time, it just irks me because even though there are certain genres I don’t like doesn’t mean I bash it or put down others for reading it. To me though, its obvious he doesn’t like the genre, did little research, and conveyed a very sexist and mysoginistic point of view.

  • wow… I cannot believe they posted this junk. What a … turd bucket. Were they ignorant in the part where this was going to insult their female readers or just did not care. Isn’t NYT suppose to be more open about this stuff? When did they convert to old republican agenda

    • Yep…that is what this article is JUNK right? I always thought NYT was way more objective but obviously not and I lost a lot of my respect for them.

  • I can’t believe that he actually published this. Why is there so much hate out there these days? I am tired of it.

    • I know, I can’t believe either. I wish there was more obvious love out there, its getting harder to find!!

  • Karen

    No one should ever review a genre they don’t love. I don’t mean a random book here or there but an actual romance round up and then have such disdain for it. I know he said he’s a fan but it’s in that – romance is a guilty pleasure, something to passively aggressively read.

    Critique it honestly, but come at it from the view of respecting the genre.

    Then to toss in there that I guess it’s ok for women to read about wanting love and respect, and good sex and compare that to a fantasy…(I don’t remember the exact quote but ti was the one at the end) well…just STFU dude.

    For What It’s Worth

    • oh I hear ya Karen. I remember the quote and it made me so angry. Like having respect is only to be found in books??!! really?? I think what I found most offensive was how many times he was constantly bashing women and it made me so angry.

  • I have read it and absolutely was disgusted by it. It was demeaning, condescending, and just plain mansplaining a genre that is mostly written by women. Oh, and don’t forget to mention the editorial response a week later. Basically, NYT Books is not appologizing, asking their readers “who can review romance?” And defending Gottlieb.

    I know romance is not everyone’s cup of tea. But I also know that when you critique something in a reputable magazine, you have to be non-biased and respect the genre, authors and readers you are reviewing. Instead what we got was an unnecessary opinion of one old dude who thinks he knows what women want.

    Oh, and it wasn’t even a round-up of NEW releases.

    • Yeah I was pretty disgusted too, and angry and frustrated. I was even more angry that NYT thought it was more than okay to publish a article like this. If anything I wish that they had someone more objective.

  • Ann Lorz

    I did read it and wasn’t at all shocked about what was said. There was nothing new said that’s already been said. I would have been more shocked if the article would have been more favorable. I’ve been reading Romance for so long. I found my two best friends for 15+ years because of our love for Romance. My blog happened because of my need to talk about the wonderful books I’ve read. It’s sad to say but some people feel better about themselves when they are knocking others down.

  • Yes, yes, and YES to everything you said!! This man just felt disconnected from what the Romance genre is and why people enjoy it. I just couldn’t figure out why they would have picked him to write a front page article when he didn’t seem like he knew what he was talking about. I get why you’d want someone who’d be objective…. but it almost felt like it swung the wrong way. 🙁

    • It was pretty disappointing that they couldn’t find someone more objective, and he had no clue why so many love this genre (myself included) and was totally clueless to why this genre is one of the best selling and most profitable out of any other genre.

  • I didn’t know about the article but yeah… complicated

    • Yeah it has caused lots of commotion in the romance community.