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Miss Manners' Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior
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Miss Manners' Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior

4.29 of 5 stars 4.29  ·  rating details  ·  889 ratings  ·  111 reviews
Your neighbor denounces cellular telephones as instruments of the devil. Your niece swears that no one expects thank-you letters anymore. Your father-in-law insists that married women have to take their husbands' names. Your guests plead that asking them to commit themselves to attending your party ruins the spontaneity. Who is right? Miss Manners, of course. With all thos ...more
ebook, 864 pages
Published February 7th 2011 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published 1982)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,007)
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Mariel
Nov 11, 2010 Mariel rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: dear prudence
Recommended to Mariel by: hey jude
My mom consulted this book for practically everything when I was growing up. It's more about being considerate of others than stuffiness for the sake of stuffiness.
Anyway, I remembered this book because I've recently offended a Japanese friendly acquaintance by declining to eat his sushi. I'm vegetarian. It made dining at other's houses difficult when growing up. I'd be torn between being rude and not eating food that would make me sick. I'd like to consult this book again for dealing with those
...more
Shannon
I picked this up not thinking I'd be interested enough to read all of it, but 826 pages later, I'm still wanting more. Miss Manners is not just an expert on etiquitte, she is a witty social thinker. She also is not an Amy Vanderbilt sort of etiquitte-writer. She explains the reasons behind the need for etiquitte, as opposed to just a (seriously boring) laundry list of dos and don'ts. And she's not afraid to be a little irreverent about it all at the same time. An absolute must read.

Here's a quot
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David
This book is not simply about which fork to use. Nor is it just the definitive guide to manners and etiquette, though that it is. Taken as a whole, Judith Martin's writings as Miss Manners add up to nothing less than a philosophical treatise. She answers the main questions of philosophy: How shall we live? What kind of people do we want to be? Her accumulated answers to day-to-day problems all of us face persuasively answer those questions. In a nutshell, and without ever stating it explicitly, ...more
Kevin Cole
Everyone I know is surprised when they first find out I'm a fan of Miss Manners.

I don't like Miss Manners's style, necessarily. She's too formal for my taste and persnickety when it comes to grammar. As a result, she's not easy to read and I often have to reread passages in order to understand the point she's trying to make.

But it's the points she makes that make me a fan. She's not a snob. And she doesn't suggest any of us be a pushover in our attempt to be polite. She simply teaches us how to
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Jen
Judith Martin has impeccable wit. In answer to the question, "Isn't etiquette always a matter of making other people feel comfortable?" she answers "This would make politeness an activity exclusively for suckers and wimps. And, of course, sluts."
I will never wear white gloves or leave my calling card, but I enjoyed reading this book and I burst out laughing several times. A few excerpts:

Dear Miss Manners: Usually, lots of men I pass by on the street say "hi" to me. I assume it's flirting. Most
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Stven
It feels as though I have been browsing this book for decades, and the publication date of 1983 suggests that feeling is correct. Miss Manners is not quite correct about everything -- some of what is taken as chilly politeness from an attractive woman might risk a punch in the nose for an ordinary male -- but she has a good ear for a situation and can often make an immensely sensible suggestion. What is a mother do about her son's new bride who never thanks her for a gift? Here is Miss Manners' ...more
Magda
On eating pineapple:
"Informal: Same as formal. It is a mistake to hold an unpeeled pineapple in the hand and bite into it.
"Formal; Quarter, cut from peel, slice and eat with fork. Wonder why hosts didn't perform this in pantry." (p. 190)

On eating peas:
"Peas are unique in that they are the only vegetable with a herd instinct. Thus it is easily possible to catch them when armed only with a fork if they are crowded together and feeling safe; but impossible by conventional means to catch one or two
...more
Hannah
One of the greatest compilations of modern wisdom ever created. Judith Martin has a way of looking at the world that is simultaneously sassy and kind-hearted, merciless and unendingly considerate and compassionate. While reading this volume cover to cover was a joy for its 800-some-odd pages of sparkling prose, I still find myself coming back to it again and again whenever I wonder how to go about some life event that is new or challenging to me. I'm so grateful to have Miss Manners in my life, ...more
Sara
I loved Miss Manners when I was in high school and college. I had to read her in the newspaper. Read this book. Actually, I think I was often reading etiquette books because - well, I don't know why. Manners fascinated me. I don't even think I have the best of manners but it's my own fault - I've been well educated with Emily Post, Amy Vanderbilt, and Judith Martin. (Though I was a bit disturbed by Amy Vanderbilt's fall out the window.)

Enjoyed this book, good entertainment for a young woman. If
...more
Krista
I'm not sure why etiquette is so fascinating to me, but I really enjoyed this book! Miss Manners' wit makes even the dull topics fun to read. I doubt that I would buy this for my bookshelf at home, but I bet I'll check it out from the library again.
TinHouseBooks
Emma Komlos-Hrobsky (Assistant Editor, Tin House Magazine): My dad was troubled when, several years ago, I asked for a copy of Miss Manners’ Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior for my birthday; surely, I needed no further invitation to fixate on my own or others’ ineptitudes or failures of grace. But with Miss Manners, one comes for the discussion of asparagus and “at home” card etiquette, and stays for the gentle excoriation of the “gentle readers” who make their queries under false preten ...more
Emily
Judith Martin doesn't just write about manners, she is a philosopher and social commentator. Under her tutelage, one can learn a wealth of history. I find myself laughing frequently because she has a very sharp wit. Miss Manners has the wisdom to be flexible and foresee where custom has or will need to change with changing lifestyles. However, she is very staunch in defending and preserving those rules that continue to serve Americans well.
Tara Calaby
This was way too entertaining. I'm a sucker for etiquette and this was just plain hilarious at times. The big downside is the fact that I'm now feeling the desperate need to order monogram embossed writing paper ;)
Kaethe
Some people read etiquette for advise. I probably did at first, or maybe just because I'd read anything. Now I read etiquette for the humor and the human insight. And for the humor, Miss Manners is the top.
Mark Desrosiers
Despite her name and her image, she ain't a prude. Plus she's a prose genius. And I know lots of prudes and pushy arseholes who could use a heavy dose of her advice. Essential reading.
Jen B
First of all, if people read this book and merely *considered* behaving more correctly (which is to say, more...humanly), our society would probably improve a great deal. From plain good behaviour to more prickly situations (such as how to deal with a former spouse at one's child's wedding) and even delightful traditions that have, alas, fallen by the wayside (ladies wearing gloves! calling cards! thank-you notes!), Miss Manners covers just about every situation a reader can think of—and if she ...more
Laura Hughes
MAYBE not everyone is interest in advice columns and etiquette as I am, but THIS WAS MY FAVORITE BOOK
Jill
Miss Manners makes me laugh out loud and always helps me figure out how to behave.
Holly
Thank you, Judith Martin! Miss Manners Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior has been such an important book in my life. I still have my original copy; purchased before I left high school as an investment in my future. I have to attribute some of my social and business successes to this book.

Since I am an anti-social person I limit my social intercourse to 3 levels: 1)Work - I'm in sales; tact and diplomacy are 2 important tools in every salespersons bag of sales techniques, right up there wi
...more
Susan
My mother bought this book in hardcover when it first came out and kept it in the kitchen within arm's reach of the kitchen table. Yes, really! That way whenever an etiquette question came up during dinner (such as "Which way is the correct way to pass? To the right or to the left? and didn't my sister do it wrong?") we could quickly get the definitive answer. Because Lord knows we couldn't postpone that discussion or let the small lapse in passing pass. As a result, many, many dinner meals incl ...more
Ngaire
So much fun, and surprisingly educational. I had no idea that women shouldn't throw themselves baby showers, and that relatives shouldn't do it either. And I'm happy to find validation for my distaste for the wedding registry. I totally agree with her about everybody from the guy on the line at the call center to your bank teller calling you by your first name - NOT COOL - I hate it, and it makes me uncomfortable. First names are for friends and family only.

Updated. I'm about 2/3 of the way thro
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^
Feb 04, 2015 ^ rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who care about other people
A thoroughly entertaining, and pleasurable read. Great style, and delivered with much acutely intelligent advice. For example, I loved the realism, and subtlety behind the statement of chapters: “Marriage (for Beginners)”, followed further on in the index, after “Divorce,” by “Marriage Two (Prerequisite: Marriage for Beginners).”

For a Brit, the obvious challenge is to differentiate between American etiquette and British etiquette …. and nowadays, also to bear in mind that etiquette changes over
...more
Jerzy
"It strikes Miss Manners as misguided to believe that home is a place where you can relax because you needn't bother to be polite. Home should be a place where you can relax because you know that there, unlike in the rest of the world, no one will be impolite to you. There is enough rudeness in the streets without inviting it indoors."
Laurel
I loved this book, I found it to be informative as well as witty and entertaining. It was joy to read, and I feel like I have learned a lot about etiquette. I even know what to do if I'm invited ti the White House! I think we could all use a refresher on the niceties that make life nice.
Jenny
This is more than a manual for proper behavior. It's a compendium of wit from one of the least-appreciated wits of our era. Judith Martin's writing is bitingly funny and entertaining as all get-out. In another age, she would have held her own in a duel of pens with Dorothy Parker or Oscar Wilde. And she gives sound, sensible guidance on good manners to boot. Through her advice, she reassures readers on practically every page that etiquette consists not, as most people imagine, of arcane and comp ...more
Rebecca
Jul 24, 2007 Rebecca rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who secretly yearn, as i do, to belong to a victorian-british gentleman's club
Shelves: non-fiction
Miss Manners is my personal hero. I imagine that if I had once been her classmate at Wellesley, she would have been the only one of the pearl-and-twinset set that I adored. I love her simultaneous acknowledgment of the arbitrary and necessary aspects of manners, and her unabashedly absurd fondness for grape scissors, which makes my own obsession with obscure stemware seem downright restrained. Oh, and her prose genius. I'd give it five stars but as a reference it's sometimes difficult to find th ...more
Cutterid
Forget Emily Post! Forget Dear Abby and Ann Landers! Those rubes are completely out-of-touch and out-of-date!

Miss Manners has arrived, and she gives a thoughtful and yet hilarious look at modern day manners, and also gives us some pithy advice about where manners came from and why they're still important.

Judith Martin is a syndicated columnist with the Ask Miss Manners column. This book is a compilation of her advice columns, with letters sent in followed by her answers. It is divided into chapt
...more
Madison Grace
This book was witty, applicable, and charming. While I disagree with several of her statements, they're petty disagreements, and she's very on point most of the time. In fact, I've become quite a snob lately, beginning sentences with "Miss Manner's says..." Definitely a great read for anybody!
Bernadette
If this is an read site,why cant we read these books on line?
Lauren
I don't ever dance without thinking of Miss Manners, responding to the lady who enquired about what to say to the gentleman who frequently asked her to dance while he had a toothpick in his mouth. The lady was concerned that she would become impaled by the toothpick. Miss Manners instructed her to respond that the lady would love to dance with the gentleman, "as soon as he was finished picking his teeth." Now I am responsible for selecting etiquette books for our library, and there's no one bett ...more
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Judith Martin (née Perlman), better known by the pen name Miss Manners, is an American journalist, author, and etiquette authority.

Since 1978 she has written an advice column, which is distributed three times a week by United Features Syndicate and carried in more than 200 newspapers worldwide. In the column, she answers etiquette questions contributed by her readers and writes short essays on pro
...more
More about Judith Martin...
Miss Manners' Guide to a Surprisingly Dignified Wedding Miss Manners' Guide for the Turn-of-the-Millennium Miss Manners' Guide to Rearing Perfect Children Miss Manners' Guide to Domestic Tranquility: The Authoritative Manual for Every Civilized Household, However Harried Miss Manners' Basic Training: The Right Thing to Say

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“It is wrong to wear diamonds before luncheon, except on one’s marriage rings. Before, after, and during breakfast, luncheon and dinner, it is vulgar to wear a mixture of colored precious stones. It is always a comfort to know that so many things one can’t afford to do anyway are vulgar.” 7 likes
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