On Positivity


When I decided to write about my experience of negative comments, I certainly wasn’t looking for sympathy. My intention was for those who have been leaving nasty comments to read it and hopefully reflect upon their behaviour. I think it worked, because I haven’t had any since. Instead, I have been overwhelmed with how many lovely comments I’ve had from all of you out there reading, both on the blog and via email, telling me how much you appreciate what I write. Ordinarily I would reply to each and every one of you personally, but the sheer number of comments I was so surprised to receive means I’d be here until next month if I started composing an individual response to everyone, so please do forgive me for not doing so. Please do know, however, that your messages of support, praise and encouragement have meant a huge amount to me, and it has been a pleasure to hear from people who don’t normally comment. Blogging can occasionally feel a little like a chore, especially when I’m having a busy week at work; all of my creativity tends to have evaporated by the time I get home from school, and is replaced by a state of exhausted apathy that leaves me with little energy or inspiration to write. However, all of your lovely responses have reminded me of why I do make the effort to blog; being part of a community of readers is immensely important to me, and it brings me great joy to share my passion with  such interesting, enlightened and enthusiastic people. So, thank you for indulging my blatherings, for engaging with me, and for actually thinking that I have something of worth to say. Now if only you could come en masse to my school and tell my pupils how amazing I am, that would be great…any takers?!



  1. Yes! I would do it! Only… the English Channel separates us. So count me in singing your praises in spirit. Hugs and have a lovely weekend:)

  2. I still find it amazing (in a sad way) that people would leave negative comments–anywhere, really, but especially on a great blog like this! Part of my joy as a blogger is that, though I’m not usually outgoing, in the book world I feel free to “talk” with people I would never otherwise interact with. And so far this has been a totally blissful experience!

    I hope the inundation of positive comments on your last post has restored balance to the blogging universe. 🙂

    1. I know, me too. It is sad but unfortunately representative of the world we now live in, I’m afraid! I’m glad you haven’t experienced any nastiness, and yes I am inordinately grateful to everyone for their lovely comments – it has restored my faith in humanity!

  3. I think you deserve all the positive comments – and I’m glad they had the right effect!

  4. Good for you! In a world that seems to have abandoned civility, you have chosen to continue to right it with your words, Rachel. Onward you go, bringing us good works to read and words to consider.

  5. My son will be teaching in Dorset next year so we will be making a second visit to your lovely isle. I would love to come to your classroom and spend hours convincing your students that you are wonderful etc and that regardless of whatever else they do in life ( I am a doctor) literature will help… How far are you from Dorset?

    Ps just got Wake from library! Have you read Grossman ” to the end of the land” ? A wonderful book about loss and love

    1. Hi Fitz! Sadly I am several hours from Dorset – but you are still welcome in Kent any time! I hope you will enjoy Wake as much as I did. I haven’t read that, no – I shall look it up now. Thank you for the recommendation!

  6. It’ good for the soul to hear positive things from places you didn’t expect, so enjoy the comments you deserve! Your pupils probably won’t appreciate you until they are your age unfortunately! However, we would all love to be in your class; education possibly is wasted no the young!

  7. You handled all this in a very mature way – this could give the nasty commenters something to think about.
    I agree with Jo: when I was in school, I didn’t know how lucky I was, how great and involved my teachers were. It really was a little wasted on me during this time. Now, I would be happy to have so much different input!
    Speaking of teaching: you introduced me to the great “The Magnificent Spinster”. Do you happen to know “The Small Room”, also by Sarton? It’s about teaching also, here in a college setting, and also quite thoughtprovoking.

    1. Thank you Martina! I know, I was the same – I look back now and think how awful I was, and how thoughtless. Youth is wasted on the young! Do you know, I haven’t read any more May Sarton since The Magnificent Spinster – I do need to read more. I shall look up that book right now – thank you for the recommendation!

  8. Hello Rachel,

    Here I sit at my dining room table in Brisbane, Australia and, I too am someone who never comments. How many times have I read an article and really thought I would write a response but never do. You, however, deserve my few moments of time so that I may let you know how inspirational and knowledgable I find your writing.

    My reading list has grown by such wonderful leaps and bounds since I came across your blog and I am a librarian so I am not short on recommendations. I believe it is your reading choices that I find so refreshing (Dorothy Whipple, Persephone classics of which I knew nothing before Book Snob). Dorothy Whipple has drama and tragedy but it is written in such a way that one is saddened and thoughtful, but the reader does not feel like their heart has been ripped from their chest by violent graphic imagery.

    While I am here, I also delight in Old Fashioned Girls. I probably am old enough to be your mother, but have always felt age is no barrier to connection with anyone in the world if your heart is in the right place. My best friend is no doubt my daughter who is 25, and though we don’t get to do as much together as we used to because she has been living in Brooklyn for the last 4 years, we are incredibly lucky that the internet allows us to keep in touch regularly. When she first moved to Brooklyn I spent a lot of time reading about your experiences in NY.

    And so Rachel, I feel certain that you are one very special person and make our world a better place. Keep writing!

    A friend, Paulette

    Sent from my iPad


    1. Paulette, what a lovely, lovely message – thank you. I am touched to hear that you enjoy my writing so much and that I have introduced you to so many wonderful books that you have enjoyed. How lucky for your daughter to be living in Brooklyn – I bet she is having a brilliant time and I’m glad my posts can show you a little of life in the Big Apple! Thank you for reading and enjoying what I write – it means an awful lot to me and I am enormously grateful to you for taking the time to tell me how you feel!

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