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Gothic Charm School: An Essential Guide for Goths and Those Who Love Them

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An essential, fully illustrated guidebook to day-to-day Goth living There's more to being a Goth than throwing on some black velvet, dyeing your hair, and calling it a day (or a night). How do you dress with morbid flair when going to a job interview? Is there such a thing as growing too old to be a Goth? How do you explain to your grandma that it's not just a phase? Jillian An essential, fully illustrated guidebook to day-to-day Goth living There's more to being a Goth than throwing on some black velvet, dyeing your hair, and calling it a day (or a night). How do you dress with morbid flair when going to a job interview? Is there such a thing as growing too old to be a Goth? How do you explain to your grandma that it's not just a phase? Jillian Venters, a.k.a. "the Lady of the Manners," knows how to be strange and unusual without sacrificing politeness and etiquette. In Gothic Charm School, she offers the quintessential guide to dark decorum for all those who have ever searched for beauty in dark, unexpected places, embraced their individuality, and reveled in decadence . . . and for families and friends who just don't understand.


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An essential, fully illustrated guidebook to day-to-day Goth living There's more to being a Goth than throwing on some black velvet, dyeing your hair, and calling it a day (or a night). How do you dress with morbid flair when going to a job interview? Is there such a thing as growing too old to be a Goth? How do you explain to your grandma that it's not just a phase? Jillian An essential, fully illustrated guidebook to day-to-day Goth living There's more to being a Goth than throwing on some black velvet, dyeing your hair, and calling it a day (or a night). How do you dress with morbid flair when going to a job interview? Is there such a thing as growing too old to be a Goth? How do you explain to your grandma that it's not just a phase? Jillian Venters, a.k.a. "the Lady of the Manners," knows how to be strange and unusual without sacrificing politeness and etiquette. In Gothic Charm School, she offers the quintessential guide to dark decorum for all those who have ever searched for beauty in dark, unexpected places, embraced their individuality, and reveled in decadence . . . and for families and friends who just don't understand.

30 review for Gothic Charm School: An Essential Guide for Goths and Those Who Love Them

  1. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Morrell

    If you've hung around the Seattle scene enough, you've probably seen the author of this book. Dressed in giant swirling dark concoctions of lace and frills, petticoats and layers, giant hats and shiny shoes, Jillian stands out instantly. She's always impeccably dressed, and at first glance can be an intimidating fixture, even with a smile on her face. Yet every time I've spoken with her (usually in a bathroom, sharing the same mirror), she is kind, polite, funny and goes out of her way to put on If you've hung around the Seattle scene enough, you've probably seen the author of this book. Dressed in giant swirling dark concoctions of lace and frills, petticoats and layers, giant hats and shiny shoes, Jillian stands out instantly. She's always impeccably dressed, and at first glance can be an intimidating fixture, even with a smile on her face. Yet every time I've spoken with her (usually in a bathroom, sharing the same mirror), she is kind, polite, funny and goes out of her way to put one at ease. She is the epitome of grace under pressure. Also known as The Gothic Miss Manners, I've read her blog off and on for years, so when I finally saw her book, it was a no-brainer to snatch it up. Filled with advice not just for goths young and old, but anyone who is interested in the scene (or even a little intimidated by it), this is a common sense handbook for being a decent person. It is in turns silly and serious, snarky and kind. I really appreciated her voice in this, which pretty much boils down to "treat others well and don't be a dick." There are practical suggestions on how to handle social interactions, well-meaning clueless folks, and the downright rude. The illustrations are the bleeding cherry on the pitch black cake, adding levity and valuable instruction. If you have a babygoth in your life, this is a fantastic resource for setting them on the right path to self-esteem in whatever image they choose to put forth. If you just want to dabble on the dark side, there is a place for you too, whatever degree of darkness fits your comfort zone. And if you're an Elder Goth, you may just recognize yourself here and there. If none of the above fits, this is still a valuable guide on taking the high road, being a decent person, and making the world a slightly better place, one goth at a time.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Stacie

    This book is snarky! If I wanted a child's point of view on life I would have asked my 4 year old who seems to have better manners than this ranting author. In this simple guide to everything you ever wanted to know about Gothic culture in today's world, Jillian Venters:the Lady of Manners", attempts to enlighten the nieve and broaden the Goth with proper do's and don't's of the genre . I would really like to believe that people that chose to follow this way of life are much more vibrant, fun and This book is snarky! If I wanted a child's point of view on life I would have asked my 4 year old who seems to have better manners than this ranting author. In this simple guide to everything you ever wanted to know about Gothic culture in today's world, Jillian Venters:the Lady of Manners", attempts to enlighten the nieve and broaden the Goth with proper do's and don't's of the genre . I would really like to believe that people that chose to follow this way of life are much more vibrant, fun and ecletic than this novel portrays. I am disappointed with the narrow choices given to point the reader to reference particular books, music, social standards etc. Venters often strays from valid points of interest and persists in a rant that the world is against Goths. I have always loved the energy behind the rebellious idea of straying from social norms, but this book misses key focal points. The most annoying part of this book is the author refering to herself in the third person.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    I thought I might learn some interesting facts or insights into the goth subculture. Turns out, I already seem to know everything about it. This book is too long. The author makes the same 4 points over and over, even repeating the same sentences throughout the book, making it read oddly like deja vu. 1. If you aren't goth, don't be an asshole to those who are. 2. If you are goth, be polite to those who aren't. 3. Goth is about literature, music, and most importantly, fashion. 4. Goth is "not just a I thought I might learn some interesting facts or insights into the goth subculture. Turns out, I already seem to know everything about it. This book is too long. The author makes the same 4 points over and over, even repeating the same sentences throughout the book, making it read oddly like deja vu. 1. If you aren't goth, don't be an asshole to those who are. 2. If you are goth, be polite to those who aren't. 3. Goth is about literature, music, and most importantly, fashion. 4. Goth is "not just a phase" - grown-ups can be goth too. Nevertheless, this book is really written for teens. (It also has some really distracting editing/grammatical errors. And the author has an annoying way of writing about herself in 3rd person.) I wish this had been better.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Arya

    A nice behavioral guide to the Goth subculture. Written in a personable style with neatly organized sections to make it easier for you to pick and choose what you want to read. Also, BEAUTIFUL illustration by Pete Venters, the author's husband and a talented artist. Those were my favorite parts of the book. Recommend to anyone newly interested in the Goth world, or those who might just be curious. A nice behavioral guide to the Goth subculture. Written in a personable style with neatly organized sections to make it easier for you to pick and choose what you want to read. Also, BEAUTIFUL illustration by Pete Venters, the author's husband and a talented artist. Those were my favorite parts of the book. Recommend to anyone newly interested in the Goth world, or those who might just be curious.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lila Lockhart

    Honestly, I'm a little surprised that some people consider the tone of this book to be snarky. I think quite the opposite - Jillian comes across as a warm, bubbly lady who wishes to inform both goths and non-goths alike about the culture. While there is certainly an emphasis on the importance of etiquette (perhaps a bit too much), it is an important message to be sending; for anyone, not just the darkly inclined. This book, in my eyes, conveys a love for Goth and Gothlings. Furthermore, it touch Honestly, I'm a little surprised that some people consider the tone of this book to be snarky. I think quite the opposite - Jillian comes across as a warm, bubbly lady who wishes to inform both goths and non-goths alike about the culture. While there is certainly an emphasis on the importance of etiquette (perhaps a bit too much), it is an important message to be sending; for anyone, not just the darkly inclined. This book, in my eyes, conveys a love for Goth and Gothlings. Furthermore, it touches on important points for anyone with an association to the culture. Is it perfect? No, nothing is. But it carries with it the same charm that is presented in the title. I would recommend this to anyone involved in or wanting to know more about the goth subculture.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Regina

    So I still need to properly sit down and read this book all the way through, from chapter from chapter but what I've read so far... isn't accurate. Compared to all of the internet sources I've read, all the fanzines on the subculture (sold when it was at its beginning) and, most importantly, books like Some Wear Leather, Some Wear Lace: The Worldwide Compendium of Postpunk and Goth in the 1980s that have interviews from the people who were in the original Batcave scene or musicians (like Alien S So I still need to properly sit down and read this book all the way through, from chapter from chapter but what I've read so far... isn't accurate. Compared to all of the internet sources I've read, all the fanzines on the subculture (sold when it was at its beginning) and, most importantly, books like Some Wear Leather, Some Wear Lace: The Worldwide Compendium of Postpunk and Goth in the 1980s that have interviews from the people who were in the original Batcave scene or musicians (like Alien Sex Fiend) all cite that the music is the most important thing when being Goth. And of course it is, I agree, because even the fashion came from the music and some people remember that they never even knew where it came from (but wouldn't have just cropped up without the music). If anyone knows the first thing about Goth, you'll know that the song that gave birth to the subculture was Bela Lugosi's Dead by Bauhaus. Not fishnets, or leather. Sure, fashion is still an aspect of the Goth subculture, because that's the way you express yourself visually (and that's what the ignorant person sees as only being Goth; unless you have music patches and badges all over your clothes) but in the end, a Goth is still a fan of Goth rock, like a Metalhead is a fan of metal music and a Punk is a a fan of Punk rock. By being part of the Goth subculture, we're not saying that you only have to be into Goth rock, post-punk and deathrock or that you should be a clone of every Goth out there. Because you shouldn't. You can listen to other genres of music, and like things that are non-goth as well. It's just that Goth is a subculture of people who have similar interests in fashion, music and aesthetic. So when you take out the music, and the aesthetic, you're just someone who's wearing black lacey clothes with no meaning behind them. So from what I've seen: Goth - A fan or performer of goth music. Gothic - Refers only to the 12th century French architecture, and the 19th century literary genre called Gothic literature. Can also refer to ceramics, glass, and furniture, too (the furniture looks like Gothic architecture). Dark romantic - What fans of Gothic literature are called, hence how Poe was a dark romantic. Darkly inclined - Someone who has a dark mindset. Likes things like graveyards; candles on a cold rainy night; abandoned derelict buildings and so on. It's fine to like these things if you're Goth (I sure do) but it doesn't make someone Goth on its own so I'd kindly like to ask you to stop with this whole "Goth is (only) a mindset" type nonsense. While the architecture and literature (plus film genre) aren't part of the subculture, there is a bit of response there. Dracula by Bram Stoker was written, and then it came out as a film adaption by the same name in 1931 (Bela Lugosi played Dracula himself) and then Bauhaus wrote about the actors death 23 years later with Bela Lugosi's Dead. To quote from the magazine Drop Dead Magazine "I think we can all agree that everyone would be a lot happier if they spent more money on things that matter (records) and less on things that don't (corsets, Gang of Four reunions). -Lakini Malich If someone stopped dressing in goth fashion, would that make them suddenly not goth? At least if you were into the music as well and you dressed "normal" for the day, you'd still be goth and it's not entirely based on what types of fabric you choose to cloth your body that day. People have this belief that "Goth" is a persona someone uses because they're bored of being themselves, they want to fit in with a group or because they're insecure. When it's not. They can't seem to wrap their heads around the fact that it's just who they are and they didn't try to be part of a subculture and that their natural interests / tastes just have associations with it. You can only get so many people out there, and more people are part of subcultures than you'd believe. They weren't trying to be anything, they're just being themselves. Another thing I feel I've got to do is to crack down on this whole "different types of Goth" thing. I mean, there just isn't. There really is just what's come from actual goth itself; traditional goth, deathrock, and romantic goth (darkwavers). As for CyberGoth, pastel goth, steampunk, metalhead and Victorian goth, they're all valid types and everything, it's just that the majority, if not all, have no connection to the actual Goth subculture. And I can tell you now that the far majority I've seen don't even respect the roots of it. Steampunk and metalhead are their own styles / subculture so I have no idea why they're lumped in with Goth. Cybergoth is a subculture which derives from rave, and industrial/rivethead subculture and pastel goth is a trend which originated from Tumblr in 2010. It's not the first fashion to come from there, believe me. So the way I take it is this: if it didn't come from the original goth scene in the 70s/80s, it's not goth. There's some inspirations in there (hence how it's taken the name "goth" on the end of these) but it doesn't make it so. And these goth types based of moods I find plain ridiculous. "Perkygoth" "Mopeygoth". The only sources I can find anywhere that validates these is that blackwaterfall.com website. And that's where I found out about them in the first place. Oh, and that "Gothttypes Wikipedia", written by normal people without any proper sources. I honestly believe that blackwaterfall.com was something to be taken lightly, as a joke, a good bit of fun, but someone took it the opposite and actually "became" one of these. The site says "Emo Goth" is a type, for gods sake. If you're educated, then you'll know that lumping or mixing a teenage phase (formerly a sub-genre of hardcore punk standing for emotive hardcore) and a nearly 40 year old background is a bad idea. It's like trying to mix "scene" and "hippie" together because they both wear bright colours. There's just no respect for Goth there, and adult Goths wouldn't get caught up in teenage trends anyway. I've written so much already, and I haven't even read all of the book yet. That's why I'm going to stop because no doubt I'll want to add a whole lot more.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Caroline

    Before I go more in-depth about the book, I just want to say that I would recommend this book to absolutely ANYONE! I almost said ''if you don't mind all the stuff about goth'', but also then too, because people need to learn about this subculture and be less hateful towards it. This book is filled of lots of life lessons and advice, about everything from manners to romance. So there is something in here for everyone! The author, Jillian Venters is a lovely and eccentric Eldergoth who is intellig Before I go more in-depth about the book, I just want to say that I would recommend this book to absolutely ANYONE! I almost said ''if you don't mind all the stuff about goth'', but also then too, because people need to learn about this subculture and be less hateful towards it. This book is filled of lots of life lessons and advice, about everything from manners to romance. So there is something in here for everyone! The author, Jillian Venters is a lovely and eccentric Eldergoth who is intelligent and kind enough to have offered goths and non-goths in all ages advice for years (I believe she started the column in 1998?). I guess after a while it was time to put all the main things she was asked about in a book! Mainly, this books is for goths. If you're asking yourself if you are one, if you want to explore this wonderful world, need advice or need to be reassured about some matters. But there is also tons of sections for people who are not goths, but has questions (and how we goths can answer them - politely). Obviously they are told that we are NOT satanists or some other evil thing people might conjure up about us, but also how to approach us, and what NOT to do. One chapter is about children. Children who are checking out the goth scene, children who are scared, fascinated and so on. And also if you are a goth parent and what to do then. Then we have the typical ''nobody understands me!'' thing that I'm sure everyone can relate to. How can you yourself convince other people that you're not dangerous, a bad influence, and that this is not a phase? Here also featuring how to deal with roommates and household tips. Learn all about the gothy clichés and what's good and bad about being like that / or not like that. There's also plenty of love advice, which mostly I would think could go for everyone, but also dips a little into that you shouldn't become a goth just to date goths, try to change your significant other, and that you CAN fall in love outside the subculture. Socializing! With other goths, non-goths, going to clubs, and naturally how to behave. The chapter you all have been waiting for: Fashion! A big part of being a goth, with advice on dress codes, jobs, the basic wardrobe, cold and warm weather (the latter helped me a lot as I'm moving from Norway to Florida for a year to work at Disney, where I have to look ''normal''), and of course that you don't HAVE to look spooky all the time. And of course the other (and maybe even bigger) part; the music. What goth music is (and ISN'T), and club and concert going etiquette. And lastly, where to go from here - a little about different movements that are linked to goth, and how it branches out to more! So yeah, here you'll learn everything about your own subculture, or someone you know's subculture and now understand them more, or now know how to really be a goth. The book also features lists on lots of reading material, films to watch and basic music to listen to - and much more. I've grown quite fond of auntie Jilli's cute way of referring to herself in third person as the Lady of the Manners. She uses cute little words and humor, and makes the whole reading experience quite fun! The book can be a little on the heavy side, but if you're used to reading her blog for example, it will be absolutely no problem. And you don't even have to read it cover-to-cover, you can also just keep it with you and look up stuff when they become relevant. This book made me giggle, shake my head and express more emotions than I usually do while reading, because of being so familiar to the scenarios and opinions in the book, both good or guilty! Go buy it now, and enjoy! For more, remember to visit the website (and there are also videos on youtube)!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sunil

    This book is both enjoyable and appropriate for people who aren't even very Goth at all, this non-Goth proclaims! I assume that any Goths reading this post are already interested in the book, being part of the built-in audience, but you may want to read this book if any of the following apply to you: You know a Goth personally: Does that person you hang out with who's always wearing black kind of freak you out? Jilli's here to tell you that you have nothing to worry about, and she will even tell This book is both enjoyable and appropriate for people who aren't even very Goth at all, this non-Goth proclaims! I assume that any Goths reading this post are already interested in the book, being part of the built-in audience, but you may want to read this book if any of the following apply to you: You know a Goth personally: Does that person you hang out with who's always wearing black kind of freak you out? Jilli's here to tell you that you have nothing to worry about, and she will even tell you ways to politely engage in conversation with this Goth and, having learned a little more about the history of Goth and the Goth subculture, you will have things to talk about! You're not a Goth, but you see one on TV: Although I don't watch NCIS, I know that there's a popular character named Abby who's a Goth. Now you can see how subculturally accurate her portrayal is! As above, if you've been exposed to Goths without knowing much about them, the book gives you a very good explanation of why Goths are gothy. The only chapter that really started to lose my interest was the chapter on fashion since it was not Relevant to My Interests, as I have no sense of fashion, but everything else is still interesting to non-Goths. You're not a Goth, but you're Something Else: As I suspected, a lot of the Lady of the Manners's advice applies to anyone who's "different." If you're a little left of normal for whatever reason, you likely experience some of the awkwardness, prejudices, and misconceptions that the Goth community does, and Jilli can help you deal with that sort of thing. You're not a Goth, but you're not sure What You Are: What struck a chord with me while reading the book is how comforting it must be to be Goth. Because it affords you a template upon which to construct your own identity. It gives you an outlet to express yourself. In delving into what is a Goth and what is not a Goth, falling headlong into this whole different world of aesthetics, you start to wonder what your own system of aesthetics and identity are, even if it's not Goth. What makes you you? You're an asshole: The Lady of the Manners's #1 Manner is "Treat everyone as you wish to be treated." Her advice about how to behave in public, at work, at clubs, with roommates, when dating, on the Internet, and in any number of other situations is sound whoever you are. It is a good reminder of the general rules of etiquette, and we could all use a refresher. It's also good if you just want to while away a few hours learning something new and laughing all the way. Jilli writes as if she's addressing you, the reader, giving the book a readable, informal tone that lends itself to witty asides and amusing digressions. I will admit, the third-person affectation can be a bit grating at times (I've never read a book where the author referred to herself in the third person the whole time), but you get used to it. Another minor annoyance was the fact that terms like babybat and babygoth and gothling are used throughout and written in spooooky font, but there's no glossary and, although most of the spoooooky words are defined through context clues, I couldn't really figure out the distinctions between the terms since they appeared to be used interchangeably at times. Knowing exactly what age range each term encompasses, however, isn't really essential to one's enjoyment of the book. Besides, any flaws are balanced out by Pete's lovely illustrations—I particularly liked the depictions of all the different Goth fashion styles (Deathrocker, Perkygoth, Rivethead, Cybergoth, etc).

  9. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    Many have stated that this book repeats itself and a lot of it can really come down to common sense. However, some people don't realise that being kind to people on the street also means being kind to people at clubs, music concerts, in the shops, at work and online. And common sense, as the adage goes, isn't really that common. I will accept that Jillian Venters repeats herself a bit, but sometimes it's necessary. A lot of this book is also just general tips on manners and kindness. I will admit Many have stated that this book repeats itself and a lot of it can really come down to common sense. However, some people don't realise that being kind to people on the street also means being kind to people at clubs, music concerts, in the shops, at work and online. And common sense, as the adage goes, isn't really that common. I will accept that Jillian Venters repeats herself a bit, but sometimes it's necessary. A lot of this book is also just general tips on manners and kindness. I will admit I think Venters was trying to pad the book out a bit, which I think is fair enough. But there are some goths who do think they are a bit above it all and haughtier-than-though and could do with some tips on how to be nicer. But this book is quaint, cute and I do like the Lady of the Manners/Miss Manners attitude she takes to it. And no, I don't think Venters really sees herself as above everyone. I believe it's just a persona, folks.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Brandy Y

    Jillian is a friend of a friend, and while I've never met her, I do remember her from back in my newsgroup days, back on alt.gothic.fashion. I always thought she was delightful and charming then, and this book proves that ten years hasn't changed anything! Jillian's book is well-written, full of great advice, and great for both goths and non-goths. I wish I'd had a copy of it to hand to my parents when I became all morbid! Jillian is a friend of a friend, and while I've never met her, I do remember her from back in my newsgroup days, back on alt.gothic.fashion. I always thought she was delightful and charming then, and this book proves that ten years hasn't changed anything! Jillian's book is well-written, full of great advice, and great for both goths and non-goths. I wish I'd had a copy of it to hand to my parents when I became all morbid!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Nym

    Younger me adored this book. I'm pretty sure I'd still like it today. But back then, I was pretty new to the goth subculture. I was still in middle school at the time of reading it. Back when I was desperate to make my mark. To show people who I was. That I was different. But couldn't because I was forced to comply with a strict school dress code of polo shirts and slacks. My babybat days began with trying to dress those uniforms up in a rather hideous sort of way that I cringe upon now. But hey Younger me adored this book. I'm pretty sure I'd still like it today. But back then, I was pretty new to the goth subculture. I was still in middle school at the time of reading it. Back when I was desperate to make my mark. To show people who I was. That I was different. But couldn't because I was forced to comply with a strict school dress code of polo shirts and slacks. My babybat days began with trying to dress those uniforms up in a rather hideous sort of way that I cringe upon now. But hey, we all start somewhere. Back then, I was introduced to the goth world via Tumblr and photobucket. Remember that website? And as a result, I only really saw it through fashion. I wasn't aware that the goth subculture was more than just pretty victorian goth gowns (that was the trend in goth at the time) and liking "dark" things that most people thought was weird. Then I discovered Jillian Venters on Tumblr. Discovered this book. And learned for myself that it was much more than that. Of course, it took several more years before I outgrew my babybat days and discovered just how cool and important the music was too. So I'm not entirely sure the book helped. But I thought it did. I felt like I was so educated. And that's not a slam to this book. I hardly remember the content anymore, although the music vs fashion debate is definitely still lodged in my memory. But I imagine if I revisited it, I'd appreciate the content all the more. Goth is not conformity or uniformity. This isn't a how-to guide to be goth and naturally some parts won't resonate and some parts will. This is only one perspective on what it means to be a goth. But hey, it was helpful. I imagine it still is. And to this day, I adore Jillian Venters. So let's give her and Gothic Charm School some credit for opening up a young kid's world, showing her that she can be different and that that's not a crime. I'd say if you're not familiar with the subculture but are curious about it, this might be a book to look into. It might teach you some things, show you some perspective.

  12. 4 out of 5

    TE

    I've been doing some pretty heavy lifting recently (the death penalty in the US, the fall of Mosul and the IS "Caliphate"), so I wanted something that was a lighthearted and entertaining read. I came across the author on YouTube a while back, and I was curious to see how the "Goth" subculture has changed, or endured, since I was in high school, back in the last century (!). I have a Gothic streak (honestly, I hate the term "Goth," personally; it's too "trendy" and flippant for me) a mile wide, a I've been doing some pretty heavy lifting recently (the death penalty in the US, the fall of Mosul and the IS "Caliphate"), so I wanted something that was a lighthearted and entertaining read. I came across the author on YouTube a while back, and I was curious to see how the "Goth" subculture has changed, or endured, since I was in high school, back in the last century (!). I have a Gothic streak (honestly, I hate the term "Goth," personally; it's too "trendy" and flippant for me) a mile wide, albeit one which is carefully concealed, so I'm just curious about the material. I think this had a lot of potential, and I get that it's supposed to focus on the etiquette aspects of being Gothic, but I think there was a lot of lost opportunity. I also agree with several of the other reviewers who have likewise reported that the book is highly repetitive and talks a lot, but doesn't say much. I think the current content could have been condensed into one or two chapters on actual etiquette, but it could have gone far beyond that. This could even have been something of an "instruction manual," discussing some "how to's" of being Gothic. I also get that there are many, many subcultures within the umbrella-term "Gothic" subculture, but there are certainly some common elements. I would also have really liked more of a history, or, at least, incorporating some of the history of the subculture into the material, which would give the added benefit of understanding why this particular group of people gravitate toward particular cultural elements. A more in-depth discussion of the types of things Gothic-identifying people enjoy and are passionate about, and why, to me, would have been far preferable, as opposed to an almost incessant plea to be nice to them. Actually humanizing these complex people would have been far more effective in terms of making them less "scary" and more fascinating (and, hence, worthy of courtesy and respect, which seems the author's primary purpose) than just reiterating for several chapters: yes, they dress weird, but please just be nice to them. For example: Gothic literature, something I'm passionate about and most people who identify with this subculture are as well. What are some of the most well-known works, and what do actual Gothic persons think about them? Why do they identify so strongly with particular elements? In fact, that's really the missing dimension overall: what ACTUAL Gothic people think about anything. It may not have been the point of the book, but there are very few instances of real people actually being represented. I think I would have featured this type material front and center, because it really adds the highly important human dimension. For example, if people are into Edgar Allen Poe, or Algernon Blackwood, or M.R. James, or Mary Shelley, for that matter: why not have a representative talk about their work (briefly) and why it it appeals to persons who identify with this subculture. The same goes for art, music, food/cuisine, decor (it goes SO far beyond than just bats and skulls). I'm going to include below a passage from the editor of a volume of Late Victorian Gothic Tales, Roger Luckhurst, who hit the proverbial nail on the head. It's also why I think discussing some of the history behind the Gothic subculture would have enhanced this book greatly. To sum up generally, Gothic involves, at its deepest levels, transgression: transgression of the boundaries between life and death, social mores (i.e., its embrace of the morbid), and, particularly, dress and outward appearance, which typically involves rather outlandish elements representing a throwback to the nineteenth century - As Luckhurst states, profoundly, "the insidious leakage of the pre-modern past into the skeptical, allegedly enlightened present. The Gothic, Robert Mighall suggests, can be thought of as a way of relating to the past and its legacies." I did enjoy it, but as I stated above, I think it was something of a lost opportunity. Even the etiquette material would have been greatly enhanced by some real-world examples and experiences. It didn't need to be a history book, but I think I was disappointed that it didn't have more depth. I know there are other books that do, but, I think I was hoping for something more. ------------------------------------- "The Gothic repeatedly stages moments of transgression because it is obsessed with establishing and policing borders, delineating strict categories of being. The enduring icons of the Gothic are entities that breach the absolute distinctions between life and death (ghosts, vampires, mummies, zombies, Frankenstein's creature) or between human and beast (werewolves and other animalistic regressions, the creatures spliced together by Dr. Moreau) or which threaten the integrity of the individual ego and the exercise of will by merging with another (Jeckyll and Hyde, the persecuting double, the Mesmerist who holds victims in his or her power). Ostensibly, conclusions reinstate fixed borders, re-secure autonomy, and destroy any intolerable occupants of these twilight zones. "The most successful monsters overdetermine these transgressions to become, in Judith Halberstam's evocative phrase, 'technologies of monstrosity' that condense and process different and even contradictory anxieties about category and border. Some critics hold that the genre speaks to universal, primitive taboos about the very foundational elements of what it means to be human, yet the ebb and flow of the Gothic across the modern period invites more historical readings. Indeed, one of the principal border breaches in the Gothic is history itself- the insidious leakage of the pre-modern past into the skeptical, allegedly enlightened present. The Gothic, Robert Mighall suggests, can be thought of as a way of relating to the past and its legacies. We can think about this in fairly abstract ways: the ghost, for instance, is structurally a stubborn trace of the past that persists into the present and demands a historical understanding if it is to be laid to rest. Similarly, Sigmund Freud defined the feeling of the uncanny as the shiver of realizing that modern reason has merely repressed rather than replaced primitive superstition. 'All supposedly educated people have ceased to believe officially that the dead can become visible as spirits', yet Freud suspected that at times 'almost all of us think as savages do on this topic.' This return to pre-modern beliefs was itself the product of thinking of human subjectivity as a history of developmental layers that could be stripped away in an instant of dread, returning us to a 'savage' state.

  13. 4 out of 5

    N.L. Riviezzo

    A silly little read I picked up randomly in my local library. The topics address in the book really did not need 236 pages to be explained. 1 or 2 pages would have sufficed - at the most - nor did the topics need to be explained repeatedly in every chapter. As someone of the Gothic persuasion, most of the content qualified as a 'Well, duh!' reaction. A silly little read I picked up randomly in my local library. The topics address in the book really did not need 236 pages to be explained. 1 or 2 pages would have sufficed - at the most - nor did the topics need to be explained repeatedly in every chapter. As someone of the Gothic persuasion, most of the content qualified as a 'Well, duh!' reaction.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Breanna

    I know some people don't really like/agree with this book for some odd reason, but I really enjoyed it. Jillian Venters is a gothic rolemodel for goths of all ages and she writes out this helpful,insightful guide to all who are goth or enjoy goth. I know some people don't really like/agree with this book for some odd reason, but I really enjoyed it. Jillian Venters is a gothic rolemodel for goths of all ages and she writes out this helpful,insightful guide to all who are goth or enjoy goth.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Therese

    Cute book - I came across a copy at the local used bookstore, otherwise I probably wouldn't have sought it out, since I'm guessing most of the material is more or less online. But a fun read since I have a lot of friends who run in gothy circles and am a fan of the music and fashion. Cute book - I came across a copy at the local used bookstore, otherwise I probably wouldn't have sought it out, since I'm guessing most of the material is more or less online. But a fun read since I have a lot of friends who run in gothy circles and am a fan of the music and fashion.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Alesia

    Although much of this was common sense ettiquete, and preached to the Gothy little choir of my heart, I enjoyed this. Especially the constant referals to her readers as "Snarklings"! Although much of this was common sense ettiquete, and preached to the Gothy little choir of my heart, I enjoyed this. Especially the constant referals to her readers as "Snarklings"!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Andrea Delesdernier

    This book is so much fun. Makes my inner and outer Goth smile. It deals with history, fashion, and etiquette.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Michael Hanscom

    Simply put, this should be highly recommended, if not required reading not just for goths, but also for anyone curious about the goth community, whether because they are personally interested or because they have an acquaintance, friend, or loved one (spouse, significant other, boy- or girlfriend, relative, child, or secret crush) who counts themselves among the spooky set. Miss Manners' more somber-dressed and bat-festooned doppelgänger, the Lady of the Manners, has adapted from and expanded upo Simply put, this should be highly recommended, if not required reading not just for goths, but also for anyone curious about the goth community, whether because they are personally interested or because they have an acquaintance, friend, or loved one (spouse, significant other, boy- or girlfriend, relative, child, or secret crush) who counts themselves among the spooky set. Miss Manners' more somber-dressed and bat-festooned doppelgänger, the Lady of the Manners, has adapted from and expanded upon columns from her long-running website and assembled a delightful collection of advice for the goth and goth-friendly. Covering everything from the basics ("The difference between being a Goth, a NotAGoth, and not being a Goth yourself but being Goth-friendly") to social etiquette both online ("The Internet is not Real Life (with an aside about the Great Flounce-Off)") and off ("What to do when people ask why you're dressed like that") to parenting ("How to show support to your babygoth or babybat without relinquishing the keys to the hearse, and everything you need to know to Not Freak Out"), Gothic Charm School quickly becomes, in many small and a few not-so-small ways, the very "Goth handbook" that the Lady of the Manners so often reminds us does not exist. I can't go back in time twenty years and hand this book to my teenaged self (more's the pity), but I canquite heartily recommend this to both old and new members of the goth community, as well as those around them who just might not quite get it. Following are a couple of short excerpts, collecting some of the Lady of the Manners own recommendations for further reading: Babybat-friendly books the Lady of the Manners recommends: * The Vampire Kisses series by Ellen Schreiber * A Series of Unfortunate Events (beginning with The Bad Beginning) by Lemony Snicket * The Scary Godmother storybooks by Jill Thompson * Coraline by Neil Gaiman * The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken * The Spiderwick Chronicles (beginning with The Field Guide) by Holly Black * The Witches by Roald Dahl * The Dark Is Rising series by Susan Cooper * Bizenghast Volume 1 by M. Alice LeGrow * The Wee Free Men, A Hat Full of Sky A Discworld Novel, and Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett Thirteen of the Lady of the Manners's favorite vampire books, in no particular order: * Drácula by Bram Stoker * Anno Dracula by Kim Newman * Those Who Hunt the Night and Traveling with the Dead by Barbara Hambly * Interview With the Vampire and The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice * The Delicate Dependency by Michael Talbot * The Blood Opera Sequence (Dark Dance, Personal Darkness Blood Opera Sequence 2, and Darkness, I) by Tanith Lee * Lost Souls by Poppy Z. Brite * Hotel Transylvania by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro * The Vampire Kisses series by Ellen Schreiber * Gothique A Vampire Novel by Kyle Marffin * Bloodsucking Fiends by Christopher Moore * The Stress of Her Regard by Tim Powers * Sunshine by Robin McKinley Recommendations listed in "The roots of Goth's dark garden" * Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë * Drácula by Bram Stoker * Frankenstein by Mary Shelley * Anything by Edgar Allan Poe * The Sandman Vol. 1 Preludes and Nocturnes (and the rest of the series) by Neil Gaiman * Anything by H.P. Lovecraft * Any of the illustrated works of Edward Gorey * Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury * Lost Souls by Poppy Z. Brite

  19. 5 out of 5

    Rae

    Out of the few books relating to the goth subculture, I found this one to be fairly decent. This is book is written to help those who aren't goth but interested in learning more about the subculture or help educate them better to show them that there is nothing to be afraid of, as well for those who are goth but need advice on how to deal with the non-goths whole seem to look down on and hold negative views on the goth subculture. The author seems more upbeat and entertaining, which makes it much Out of the few books relating to the goth subculture, I found this one to be fairly decent. This is book is written to help those who aren't goth but interested in learning more about the subculture or help educate them better to show them that there is nothing to be afraid of, as well for those who are goth but need advice on how to deal with the non-goths whole seem to look down on and hold negative views on the goth subculture. The author seems more upbeat and entertaining, which makes it much more fun to read instead of feel like a chore to get through the whole book. There are many different sections in the book (including a section for parents and babybats). There are sections for how to deal with roommates, how to build a basic day to day wardrobe, outfits that is appropriate for job interviews, dealing with dress cods, encourages people learn different skills (such as sewing and tailoring clothing. Goths at one time would buy cheap clothing at thrift shops and alter them a bit), what to look for in quality clothing. Advice on relationships, goth club etiquette. Some of these things should be common sense really. I say it is more a behavior and advice guide than about the history of the subculture (so if you are looking for a book that goes a bit deeper into the history of the subculture, you will have to look elsewhere. I heard some of Voltaire's books are pretty good and humorous when it comes to discussing about the subculture; unfortunately they are bit harder to find unless you order them online and a bit pricier as well because of that); but it is still a handy book overall and it does touch up on the subculture a bit as well. I would rate it higher if it did go a bit deeper into the subculture or perhaps gave some tutorials for making some altered clothing, jewelry etc....and sometimes it did seem like she repeated herself a bit too much (I get is meant to help reinforce the whole being polite to others which is important but did get a bit tiring after awhile). All and all, the book was a good read and recommend that everyone should have a copy as some advice is really valuable resource.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Maria Giakoumatos

    As a Seattle native, it's impossible to miss Jillian Venters' beautiful gothic Victorian dresses at local conventions and gothy events. The few times I spoke with her, she was nothing but sweet, kind, and modest - making her the perfect goth rolemodel and author for Gothic Charm School. Bubbly, playfully snarky, and - of course - polite, Gothic Charm School is a great book for those new or interested in the goth scene, or for anyone looking for a fun and interesting read. As a Seattle native, it's impossible to miss Jillian Venters' beautiful gothic Victorian dresses at local conventions and gothy events. The few times I spoke with her, she was nothing but sweet, kind, and modest - making her the perfect goth rolemodel and author for Gothic Charm School. Bubbly, playfully snarky, and - of course - polite, Gothic Charm School is a great book for those new or interested in the goth scene, or for anyone looking for a fun and interesting read.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Gabby

    I hate giving less then 4 starts especially when it wasnt a bad book. The refrences are dated but its still a really cute book. Yes, its a bit repetitive, but I do appriciate it for what it is. I would have liked some more old fashioned (victorian) mannerisms and social codes incorporated perhaps in a more modern context. Everyone needs a reminder to watch the snark and keep an open mind. Even though it seems like a no brainer, I did need to remember that much.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sam

    im tempted to give it 2.5 stars but there wasnt really that much /wrong/ with it. i found myself rolling my eyes a lot but that was more to do with me as a person. i liked a couple of chapters but wasn't that interested in the rest. unlike most people i actually do like the way she refers to herself in the third person im tempted to give it 2.5 stars but there wasnt really that much /wrong/ with it. i found myself rolling my eyes a lot but that was more to do with me as a person. i liked a couple of chapters but wasn't that interested in the rest. unlike most people i actually do like the way she refers to herself in the third person

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Hobson

    Truly Essential Jillian is amazing. As a longtime blog reader, I've been a fan since the early days, and am so grateful this book exists. It is a delightful, sane template of polite behavior that encourages spooks and non-shpooks to co-exist in peace and civility. Bless you, Lady. Truly Essential Jillian is amazing. As a longtime blog reader, I've been a fan since the early days, and am so grateful this book exists. It is a delightful, sane template of polite behavior that encourages spooks and non-shpooks to co-exist in peace and civility. Bless you, Lady.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Your Common House Bat

    I've always been fond of the gothic fashion and culture. So I figured why not give this book a go? Overall I thought that it was pretty cute and I found The Lady Of Manners to be a bubbly, eccentric, and fun narrator. I think that this is a nice read to help people get a sense of etiquette when talking to goths & and its a nice little guide to help new goths get into the scene. I've always been fond of the gothic fashion and culture. So I figured why not give this book a go? Overall I thought that it was pretty cute and I found The Lady Of Manners to be a bubbly, eccentric, and fun narrator. I think that this is a nice read to help people get a sense of etiquette when talking to goths & and its a nice little guide to help new goths get into the scene.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Olivia (Phoenix_Park)

    2nd read: If I remember correctly, my first read was shortly after the publication back in 2009. Reading it again now was quite the bittersweet train down memory lane. I loved it and recommend it to everyone who wants to learn more about our subculture and/or who waits eagerly for the clubs and concert halls to open their doors again... 🖤🖤🖤

  26. 4 out of 5

    Zara Mcaspurren

    Fun Read A fun little read. Gives a bit of history of the Goth subculture, some cool recommendations for things to check out, and basic helpful hints on how to deal with the world while being Goth. Like I said, a fun read.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Helena Bradford

    A little repetitive at times but it didn't phase me. It was fun, informative, exploratory and well put together. I like the sarcasm in the authors voice too, I think some may confuse it as sharply critical but it's not. She's just blunt and playful. Would love another! A little repetitive at times but it didn't phase me. It was fun, informative, exploratory and well put together. I like the sarcasm in the authors voice too, I think some may confuse it as sharply critical but it's not. She's just blunt and playful. Would love another!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Alaska

    A very quick and easy read, maybe better described as a primer for people just discovering goth culture. The book tended to be a bit repetitive for me and seemed to have very little value for someone who isn’t brand new to the world of goths.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Katharine

    Had some interesting bits of information, but the snarky-cute style of the narrative did get a wee bit repetitive. The illustrations dispersed through the pages were a nice touch.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kelley Something

    I thought I would love this, but the repetition was intolerable. This came across as a draft, in need of much editing.

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