Haters Gonna Hate…

Hold up, let’s just stop for a minute before we continue in the lovely world of booky thoughts and reviews as I just wanted to have a brief chat with you all about something. This was randomly brought up on Twitter over the weekend, by someone I am not linking to and giving more airtime, and then again by a ‘kind’ comment yesterday on the about page of this blog which initially stung before I was actually slightly flattered and then found very funny…

Rude Comment

Now I know I should take trolling like this, and the accusation was pretty much the same on twitter over the weekend, with a pinch of salt and in the main I do. I had an author on facebook calling me the ‘number one blogger of grammatical atrocities’ for a while. After all, I choose to put this blog and my thoughts and opinions out in the ether, I’m no fool there are negative wallies out there. Yet just for a minute I was stung somewhat; not by my ego, which is not as big as these people seem to think frankly, but for the fact that someone would need to chip in and be so unkind.

You see I am aware that my grammar and spelling can sometimes be a bit rogue yet I would hope that people wouldn’t judge something like this blog or any blog which is done for free and all for the enthusiasm and love of books. If it was a published novel or article (where I had an editor, which is what all authors and journalists need) then fair enough, I just can’t always edit my own words because I have stared at them for too long or written them in a whirlwind of excitement. (Gran used to remind me off this sometimes ‘ooh your grammar Simon’ but she was never mean and remembered I left school early. She was just chuffed I loved books so much again.)

But what if I had dyslexia or some other factor rather than enthusiasm or just being blind to my own grammatical errors which I am probably committing all the time? Does this mean, like the lovely lady on twitter was hinting at when she said ‘an illiterate blogger is judging a book prize’, that people with dyslexia or another disability shouldn’t be allowed to blog or have an opinion? What an awful elitist (another thing oddly she accused me of) world that would be!

I think any regular reader to the blog knows that I love books and want everyone to be able to get their mitts on them and enjoy the escapism, learning and enjoyment they bring. Hence why I am so passionate about libraries, where I spent most of my childhood, and why I love initiatives that celebrate books written by and from the perspectives of all walks of life.

So after feeling the sting for a while, I wrote a reply…

Rude Comment Comeback

I felt much better. Plus, it is true. If you don’t like the blog, or something else somewhere else on the internet, don’t waste your time writing a negative comment/review (and if you have to then don’t be an anonymous coward) just bugger off and read something else as frankly I don’t want you darkening my blog’s door. Go on, off you trot and please don’t come back thank you.

Also if you have received any comments, as I know I won’t be the only one hence another reason why I decided to post this, or snark on social media etc like this; just let the sting pass and think ‘blimey I should be flattered they wasted their time commenting/tweeting’ before reminding yourself of what lovely old Madonna, she of the falling down the stairs and getting back up again, has once said (I think, though it might have been someone else or I might have made it up) at some point… ‘You know you have made it when someone really hates it.’ It’ll make you feel much better. And with that let’s move on…



Filed under Random Savidgeness

48 responses to “Haters Gonna Hate…

  1. Jen

    I love your reply, Simon! I also love to proofread, so if you need an extra pair of eyes, I’m happy to help.

  2. Jan

    I adore your love of books and reading. I share your enthusiasm – so much so – I never noticed any errors. Please, please keep doing what you are doing – I look forward to your posts and your podcasts. You are brave to put your heart out there for haters to stomp on….but a true bibliophile will appreciate your intelligence and devotion to the bookish world.

  3. As a professional writer and editor (outside my book blog), I make mistakes all the time. Sometimes I have the luxury of having an editor catch my mistakes, and sometimes I do not. As you say, when one has been reading/re-reading the same content again and again, one tends not to see it. In my work, I try to read everything backward (as in, from the last sentence to the first sentence, not all the words in reverse) so the sentences stand on their own, but I don’t always get the chance. On the blog, I generally do cursory edits, but even when I’m careful I miss things. Anyway, I have been following your blog for years, and you are hardly “illiterate.” You read widely and have both broad and deep comprehension of what you read. The fact that you translate your thoughts with a few typos now and again doesn’t matter–it truly is the thought that counts.

  4. kaggsysbookishramblings

    That’s just the way to deal with idiots like this, Simon. Frankly, your readers are concerned with hearing your thoughts and ideas, not worrying about commas and the like. Some people are just jealous, I guess…..

  5. Well said. As you know I had a similar “moment” over on my blog, but didn’t react in quite the same way. I wish I had! Anyway, I love your blog and illiterate is the last word I would use to describe you. Onwards and upwards!

  6. R J Madigan

    Love your reply. I have had similar comments on my own blog and guest blog posts. You are right ‘don’t let the haters in’, but some days it does sting. I really enjoy your blog so please keep doing what your doing. Best wishes Rae.

  7. I can never understand why people have to be so vocal and negative on the internet while hiding under their veils of anonymity. That’s just plain cowardice and I always maintain, “If you’ve got nothing nice to say, then say nothing at all.” Well done Simon for taking it so well and giving it back. I am not sure how I would have handled this situation.

  8. And there I was hoping for an Aaron Schock tell-all 😉 I know exactly what you mean though, if it’s a professional news source or published book I get a bit disgruntled, but personal blogs, no way! I’ve gone back and been horrified at my own typos and grammatical mistakes. Good for you for plowing ahead. Plus you get to judge it and they don’t so you’re clearly going somewhere!

  9. I’ve hit the ‘publish’ button many, many times and only afterwards noticed spelling/grammar mistakes or repetitions or unclear sentences. And I’ve been an English teacher correcting everything with a red pen! But you are not handing in an essay to be marked, you are writing your well-thought out, coherent thoughts and impressions based on your very extensive reading. (Not that I’ve noticed anything at all illiterate about your posts.) I know at least a couple of other book bloggers who’ve had such cruel remarks thrown at them, but if people do not take the time to look beyond any superficial impressions to discover the wealth of knowledge, openness and value that lies beneath… it’s their loss.

  10. The whiff of jealously is strong with this one. It will be very interesting to see if there is any comeback on this post. I would doubt it.

  11. I love your blog and think you should just carry on as you have. My own blog I am sure has mistakes but as you say I don’t do it as a published book etc I do it for fun and it is often a pouring out of thoughts in a little bit of an order. If people want to read it then brilliant and if they don’t like it then they don’t have to read it. Keep doing what you are doing and don’t change its proved popular so far.

  12. Some folk are just numpties, Simon. The high esteem in which you are held by thousands of people who really care about books is its own testament. Ignore these nay-sayers, who are surely possessed by the green-eyed monster?

  13. I’ve never noticed anything wrong spelling-wise or grammatically on your blog; I know I’ve made mistakes – generally written repetitively (which seems to be a problem for me!) or made a typo, which I’ll edit when I spot it…but really, how snarky! And the accusation of elitism alongside that doesn’t make sense at all! There’s one blogger, whose reviews I’ve linked to from Twitter, who clearly has dyslexia, although she gets through a huge amount of books. I always “like” her reviews, because I applaud the way she loves books – even though they aren’t my type of thing – and admire the way she’s so enthusiastic about them, and doesn’t let anything stop her writing about them. I’ve found pretty much everyone in the blogging community to be lovely and supportive. It makes me angry that you, or Helen, would be upset by a comment. I’d never have guessed that you, like me, left school early – although I have done some further education since. I love your love of books. The nice people FAR outweigh the odd nasty person – and really, if all they’ve got to do with their time is leave snide comments – well, what a sad life they lead!

  14. dom agius

    Love you, you forthright bugger. well bloody said.

    xx to you & chris both


  15. Sarah Williams

    Simply put – Mel needs to lighten up and get a life. The one s/he has is pretty sad if that’s the only contribution she cares to make to the bookish dialogue you carry on through your blog and podcasts. Truly, I just don’t get it. A friend of mine, who had spent yesterday teaching, hosting an after school reading celebration for her students, and then went home to take care of her own family, made a grammatical mistake on FB last night. In less than 2 minutes, someone had pointed it out and actually wrote, “tsk, tsk, tsk,” I couldn’t believe a supposed “friend” had done that to her. Much like my friend, you are helping spread the joy of reading with humor and enthusiasm. Carry on with the good work. I’m a teacher myself, and the mantra in my room is “Best Work. Not Perfect Work.”

  16. Jill

    They’re just jealous because they can’t be you.

  17. jananav

    Love your reply! And also love everything you write. Keep ’em coming. My husband has the perfect response to anyone who behaves in a snarky or rude manner as this person did. But I’m not sure it’s appropriate to share here. It is, you say? Okay, here goes: “Obviously, they’re not getting any!” Whether it’s true or not, it helps to think that haters are just lonely people who need some love. There now. All better 😉

  18. pam

    wow. this is stunning. i’m amazed there are people this horrific out there in the world. simon – we love you (a lot) exactly as you are. please do not change! over the past few years your blog has become even more reflective of your (fab) personality, which has made it even better!! good on you for your response, but don’t feel you have to justify anything to anyone. period. especially trash like this. oh – this makes me so cross! times like these i think even the dalai lama would be tempted to write a snarky comment (and then remind us how the sad soul is suffering from insecurity and needs our compassion, of course).

  19. Ann

    Love your writing style – love your blog. You give me a chuckle most every day when I read your blog. Anybody that types on a computer knows that sometimes we all make mistakes and who cares? I do not.

  20. Great reply Simon I’ve had numerous comments like this yea my grammar is poor .But my passion is very real so now days I just carry on although do use hemingway app to check the grammar .My main problem is I just miss punctuation sometimes

  21. quinn

    perfect reply and way too civil. It’s your knowledge, wit, experience that shines w/ each blog…and I have never noticed any grammar or spelling errors anyway. But have always noticed that your insight and charm always shows! u go guy!
    xo quinn

  22. Sela Still

    Carry on spreading the love Simon. Your blog is ace and the wide variety of books/booky subjects you deal with amazing. I stopped reviewing on Amazon because I couldn’t deal with the crassness and stupid remarks a well-thought out review could generate. Your reaction is so much better.

  23. Rhian

    I’ve never noticed grammatical errors – but then maybe I’m illiterate too! I read your blog because I love your enthusiasm and passion for books. I want to feel that I am hearing a person, not reading a perfect piece of prose! Keep on the way you are.

  24. Bah. Jealousy rears its ugly head. They should have just said “I wish I was judging this prize instead of you”. That would have at least been honest. I don’t mind the grammar and spelling misses when the true love of the books comes through loud and clear. You are perfect when it comes to that.

  25. Simon, people say hurtful things to make themselves feel more worthy. Anonymous snarkiness on line is the worst. Sometimes I read the Guardian comments on line for a lark. It’s like freaking road rage in there. Same as The Millions. And all anonymous. Don’t change a thing, and don’t let the bastards get you down. We love you!

  26. Jen

    I really don’t understand people who criticise people’s grammar or spelling on personal blogs. Especially people who feel the need to criticise the author to their face, it doesn’t make any sense to me.

    The fact that people’s spelling and grammar is really heavily criticised on the internet pisses me off quite a lot. One of my closest friends is dyslexic and very intelligent, so every time I see anybody insinuating that someone is stupid because they can’t spell makes me furious because it reminds me what she must have to put up with all of the time. Plus, people seem to forget that English spelling/grammar is bloody difficult whether you have dyslexia or not!

    As you said, if you go to a blog and don’t like how it’s written or disagree with it then bugger off and read something else! It’s not as if there is a lack of content online…

  27. I don’t want perfect grammar
    I never want to work that hard
    I just want someone readable
    I want you just the way you are
    – with apologies to Billy Joel.

  28. I would rather read your blog any day rather than read those grammatically correct and well written reviews that come in nytimes and other newspaper websites. I like your writing style and all those bookish and non-bookish posts equally and the same goes with many other people who appreciate your blog. Then most people who read your blog may not be grammar nazis 🙂

    Keep writing!

  29. Rob

    Over a MILLION people read you for your humanity, humor and hunkiness……….don’t let the very few unfulfilled negative neanderthals take up any space in your heart or head!!!!

    Keep up the GREAT work!!!!! All the best, Rob

  30. Christina Barker

    First, I love your blog and I can’t even remember how I found it. Just lucky. I too am baffled by the comments people put on the internet just for the sake of being mean. That takes a lot of energy doesn’t is? Pointless.

  31. Initially I found your blog through my very scholarly niece who is intensely studying English literature and simply loves your blog. blog has opened up a whole new reading experience for me. Your charming and spunky style of writing works very well! It’s like sitting with a good friend over a cup of tea and discussing interesting books. Love the idea of your Gran being so much part of your reading life. That’s good stuff.

  32. Add to my comment…( edit the second sentence please!) Ha aah ha! …Should read…”Your blog has opened up a whole new reading experience for me”. (Beut you already knew that!)…whoops….too late to be blogging….)

  33. A Kiwi in Oxford

    Please, please, please don’t let the turkeys get you down. I have found so many wonderful new books and authors to read thanks to your blog. I love your stories of places you go and people you meet and it makes reading less of a solitary experience and more of a group event. Grammatical errors – they never interrupt my enjoyment of what you write and I just assumed they were due to the incredibly busy and rich life that you lead.

  34. I am relatively new to your blog but didn’t notice grammatical errors in your posts. English is not my first language and my own posts are probably full of grammar mistakes, I don’t see. The main reason, why I visit your blog is because I am interested in your opinion on the books you read and not because you won a medal in a spelling contest. As you said, this is not a professional blog. We all do this because we like it and I hope you don’t let worthless comments, like that, get to you.

  35. Hahaha! Your reply is perfect. People like that obviously have way too much time on their hands. Methinks they need to find a more constructive hobby.

  36. Janey

    Simon, my love (if I may be so bold),

    I’ll be brutally honest – I have a background in editing/English lit and I was forced to learn every grammar rule under the sun owing to a very traditional education. I confess that I have noticed the odd awkward turn of phrase in your blog, the presence of which surprised me slightly. Why did it surprise me so? I’ll tell you why. Those ‘wonky’ moments surprised me because your wonderful words are normally so easy to digest and so inspiring to read and so ridiculously informative and so BLOODY MARVELLOUS that I couldn’t quite work out why the wonkiness had wandered in. But there it was. And who cares? Nobody cares. Having read that nasty brutish little slice of meanness from somebody far far less talented than you, I want to stand up and be counted as one of many people whose lives are enriched by the reading of your blog – and by the reading of the books to which your blog directs us. CHANGE NOT ONE WORD, Simon.

    Haters gonna hate.

    And lovers gonna love.

    Others take. You give.

    Don’t stop. If you took one look at my bookshelves you’d see how your words, thoughts and recommendations have made their very positive mark on the reading life of somebody who lives halfway across the world.

    You’re the best.

  37. Linda e.

    Bravo Simon. Don’t waste your time with someone who has nothing substantial to say, and judging by his ignorant comments, contribute to life. Even bookish people make grammar and spelling errors.

  38. Lindy

    Dear Simon,
    You are adorable and weird and grumpy and totally addictive. You enrich my reading life and you make me laugh a lot. Thank you for all your hard work and ignore the white noise from the haters. They wouldn’t know diddly-squat.

  39. You’re writing is legible and entertaining, as a reader I don’t care how grammatically correct it is. Also, as someone with minimal grammatical skills, what right would I have to judge? I find that a spattering of grammatical inconsistency adds a colloquialism that I enjoy in posts, a personal touch that helps me connect with the writer.

    Also, whether you are a grammar expert or not, I don’t think it is a trait necessary to judge a book prize.

    This sounds like an unfortunate case of the higher you get the more people want to see you fall. But, never mind, we can’t please everyone, negativity is par for the course and it’s how you handle it that matters. You don’t seem to be too upset about it now, and that’s the best place to be. Onwards and upwards!

  40. As you know, I’m a professional sub editor and while I’m quick to spot other people’s errors I never see my own… until several years later. Only this week I flagged up my review of Hilary Mantel’s Eight Months on Ghazzah Street for a list of thrillers I was compiling and I was horrified to see two clangers in the first sentence and another in the quoted extract! I wrote the review some six years ago!! The trick to editing your own work is to read it out loud — you’ll soon spot your mistakes.

  41. Just so you know, I’m out here, reading your blogs. I follow sixty book bloggers and yours is in my top five. Keep doing what you do, you do it well. Best wishes!

  42. A blog is not a published book, it’s more like a conversation. Correct grammar is not required, at least in my opinion. God, if I took the time to make sure my blog posts were perfectly well-written, edited, and proofread, I’d only have about one a month!

  43. Julian Reid

    Simon, for heaven’s sake that individual was a term I can’t post here (for fear of littering your blog with potty mouth!)! Are you familiar with the term online disinhibition? It’s fairly self explanatory and likely what the insipid creature was manifesting overly. Your blog was recommended to me by my sister. She and her husband are voracious readers and so am I. She is forever recommending great books to me, but prefaces each recommendation with “I read the review on Simon’s blog!”. She’s read your blog for years and I can see why, now I’m doing so myself.

    I am blind to any grammar errors you may make because I, as I am sure is the case with others, am more captivated by your love of reading and your flair for reviewing.

    You handled the situation perfectly and with class, unlike the original poster!

    Thank you, Simon, for providing this wonderful resource.


  44. Welcome to the shitty side of the internet Simon. I think you handled the comment well. Everybody’s mother brother and dog thinks it’s ok to get on the net and insult people with dumbs pics linked to their nonexistent name. They are nothing more than cheap shots from people that don’t do anything and can’t do anything. Keep doing you Simon! We love your passion for reading and will continue to support you. 🙂

  45. Fenella

    While it’s nice when you ensure your posts are readable, more than that I’d rather you spent your time writing more blog posts. You’ve indicated before that your reviews take a lot of time and thought and care. So yeah, as long as it’s readable I’d rather you spent time on reading/reviewing.

    But more pictures of your cats wouldn’t go amiss! I can’t have cats and love them, so live vicariously through other cat-owners.

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