This is in response to what’s been happening on twitter lately. If you’re familiar with twitter as I imagine most of you are you’ll likely be aware that every now and again Q&A sessions with authors are hosted. Usually things are civil but sadly the recent chat with 50 Shades of Grey Author E. L. James was the very opposite.

Long before this Q&A session it’s been hard to miss the hostility towards the book. Personally I only read a tiny, tiny bit (we had to see what all the fuss was about, after all) but it wasn’t for me so guess what I did? (this seems to be controversial these days so make you sit down before you go on)

I didn’t continue reading it. I put the book down and moved on to something else. Seeking out the author on social media and telling her in as rude a way as possible that I hated her book never even crossed my mind. When I read a book and I don’t enjoy it, I stop and move on. A lot of people, however, continue despite them hating the book, passionately, and they make sure the author knows how upsetting the read was for them by completely, entirely slanting the author on social media afterwards.

Somebody please help me understand why this is necessary? If you don’t like a book, can’t you just not read it? Life is too short to spend on things that make you this angry (and this whole #AskELJames thing really got ugly). I understand that domestic abuse is a sensitive subject for some people, especially those of you who have suffered through this very thing, but guess what? 50 Shades of Grey isn’t about you, personally. Even more importantly, it’s fiction. Not real. Made up. Do you really have the time and engery to get this worked up over a fictional story? I definitely don’t!

Also, I can’t help but wonder if you really hated the book as much as you claim to if you read the whole thing. I’ve got better things to do than read an entire book I loathe, and I’m sure you do, too.

I know it’s easy to say anything on social media. It’s quick, and no one knows who you really are behind your profile picture. Therefore it’s also very easy to be rude to people, but that’s no excuse for doing it.

Some people have approached me on twitter saying that their hate isn’t just directed towards the book but towards the author’s personality. Can’t you just not talk to her? Can’t you just not follow the news regarding her? Do you want to be mad at her just for the sake of being mad at her? I avoid people if they make me angry, I don’t seek them out knowing they’ll ruin my day.

Let’s consider, for the sake of comparison, Game Of Thrones by George R. R. Martin. Does that not have immense amounts of explicit rape, domestic violence, incest, brutality, slaughter (…the list goes on…)? Where are the angry mobs vowing to hunt down George R. R. Martin?

Here’s the deal: Writing a book isn’t easy. It takes a lot of energy, dedication, and time. Reading a book also takes a lot of time, so don’t waste said time reading something that appals you. Also, please remember that there are real people behind those profile pictures on social media. Venting your hate might be easy but that doesn’t make it the right thing to do. So what if you don’t like how she responded to all this negativity? What do you expect her to do, re-write the whole thing until you’re happy with it? Apologise to everyone for speaking her mind, like you are doing by insulting her?

So please, people, don’t feel forced to read a book which upsets you. Unless someone is holding a gun to your head until you’ve read every last word you have no obligation, now, do you? You can’t like everything, and there won’t be any hard feelings if you choose to move on, but please, for the love of fudge, move on.

And don’t insult every aspect about the author afterwards. It takes a conscious effort to write out a message on your keybaord, read over it (if you are indeed a perfectionist like me who reads over even the shortest text message three times before sending it) and press sent. The words can’t just leave your mouth without you realising that you’ve spoken them aloud.

It’s fiction, people. Don’t get mad. It’s not real, and it’s not about you personally.

There are more worthwhile things to be spending your time on.