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

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4.16  ·  Rating details ·  635 Ratings  ·  75 Reviews
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? Jill ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published June 23rd 2009 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published June 1st 2009)
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(showing 1-30)
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Michelle M
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 ...more
Stacie
Jul 25, 2011 rated it did not like it
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
...more
Sarah
Sep 15, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
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
...more
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.
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 ...more
Caroline Åsgård
Jun 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
I sense that this book is going to be quickly worn as my hands are a little sore and sweaty because of fighting with myself to put the book down after every chapter and go do something else (or at least watch an episode of The Addams Family).
I have read all the blog posts at http://www.gothic-charm-school.com/ several times, and finally that wasn't enough to me - I had to get the book, and support the lovely Jillian Venters who I also follow on Tumblr.

Before I go more in-depth about the book, I
...more
Jay
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
...more
Brandy Y
Jul 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
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!
Gemma Thomson
Venters' book is a charming and light-hearted romp through goth culture, resplendent in manners and decorum. Though written from the perspective of a Victorian goth, it runs the gamut of spin-off cultures and provides a few short essays on what they have in common.

The chapters are best read in stages, or else dipped into on an ad hoc basis, for there is a lot of repetition. Some parts of the book also read as generic common sense - only towards the end do we see some quite useful gothy advice, o
...more
N.L. Riviezzo
Apr 09, 2010 rated it it was ok
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.
Breanna W
May 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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.
Therese
Nov 25, 2016 rated it liked it
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.
Devi
Aug 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book was massive shortlasting fun with really interesting facts I didn't know yet and with facts that made me smile a lot. Jillian Venters has a really entertaining writing style. A perfect book for times when I don't have the moood for reading novels at all.
Andrea Delesdernier
Feb 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This book is so much fun. Makes my inner and outer Goth smile. It deals with history, fashion, and etiquette.
Alesia
Jul 25, 2009 rated it really liked it
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"!

Michael Hanscom
Jun 25, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, humor
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
...more
Shannon
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 ...more
Sam Bux Romatet
Jun 14, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
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
Katharine
May 24, 2017 rated it liked it
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.
Nicole Pramik
Oct 09, 2013 rated it liked it
Taken from my blog: http://scififantasylitchick.wordpress...

Overview: This obscure but entertaining gem was written by a Goth herself, Jillian Venters, who prefers to go by the title Lady of the Manners. That’s because Venters…ahem, Lady of the Manners…is all about good old-fashioned etiquette. But this just isn’t your usual “how to say please and thank you” handbook. Gothic Charm School explores the background, explains the aspects, and explodes myths of and about the Goth subculture.

My Take: I
...more
Sunil
Jan 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
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
...more
Niki
Jun 27, 2016 rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this book a lot more than I did. Being a Goth, reading this book was almost a required read, since mrs. Venters is a pretty famous figure in our subculture. She's basically been around since the beginning of the subculture and lived during the early years of it, so she has a bit more experience than people who were born years after the "golden age" of Goth ended (like me, a 90s kid)

However, this book has a very "us and them" attitude. "Us Goths" and "them normal people that just
...more
Marsha
If you’ve ever seen someone with multiple piercings, spiked collars and death-warmed-over makeup and wondered “Why is she dressed that way?”, “Is he dangerous?”, “How does he sleep with his hair like that?” or “Halloween was yesterday, wasn’t it?”, then this book is for you. If you’re one of those who wish to seek out the dark forces and join their hellish brigades…maybe this book isn’t for you.

But the Lady of the Manners is here to help all those fledgling and seasoned Goth lovers learn everyt
...more
Julia O'Connell
Dec 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
I discovered the Gothic Charm School blog a couple years ago, and enjoyed it immensely. Jillian Venters and I have similar ideas about what it means to be a goth and what constitutes the gothic aesthetic. I also appreciate her notion that members of the gothic subculture should put an extra emphasis on politeness and etiquette for a variety of reasons.

The Lady of the Manners, as she refers to herself, speaks in a charming style throughout the book (notable for her frequent use of the third pers
...more
Corpse Gallows
Jul 12, 2016 rated it liked it
I had heard about this book, a few years back, and just recently decided to pick it up. Here's what I found.

The book itself is easy to pick up and read. For someone who is looking for a brief overview of the subculture, it's a good quick read. However, if you're already accustomed to the subculture, then there really won't be much information in this that will be anything new. I found myself, quite a few times, wanting to skip over parts, just on the basis that it was either something I was fam
...more
Madge
Feb 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely fantabulous book! (Yes, I just used the made-up word "fantabulous.") If you are looking at this book, go ahead and stop looking and either buy it or borrow a copy and start reading. I personally think that this book should be on the (non-existent) Required Reading list of every young person, whether they be Goth or otherwise.

Ah Jillian, where were you when I was a "babybat" in high school? Had I read this book in high school (it was published after my high school years), I believe my
...more
Tracey
Aug 09, 2010 rated it it was ok
My snarling post-punk inner brat wants to know, who is this author to dish out advice to anyone? Apparently, she's a regular person with a career that enables her to wear neo-Victorian garb on a daily basis, which has resulted in enough ignorant questions, unwanted remarks, and unwelcome touching to prompt her website-cum-reference book. There aren't nearly enough nonfiction books about goths to suit me, so I really wanted to like this one more. If Venters had taken a friendlier, more peer-to-pe ...more
Beckie
Apr 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
i just finished reading gothic charm school by jillian venters - the lady of the manners. it is a truly fabulous book! it is an 'essential guide for goths and those who love them' - and yes, it is.

this book actually would be something that everyone should read for affirmations and pick-me-ups. everything she says can be applied to any culture, not just goth. i think a lot of people need to step back, take a look around, just be nicer, and stop judging by looks. the world would be much nicer pla
...more
Maggie
Jun 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
Disenchanted with many aspects of lolita, I picked up this book. Given, I am a bit biased as both me and the author are from Seattle and I have considerable northwest pride, but I found the book a nice read. Not only did the self-titled Lady of the Manners unknowingly enlighten me to the key differences between goth and lolita (most prominently that lolita is mostly an emphasis on a specific whereas goth is about a feeling and a culture) and make me more inclined toward her side, but many of the ...more
Bethany Ebert
Mar 05, 2016 rated it liked it
I enjoy etiquette guides, and I also like some things that might be considered goth. I was really excited to read this book, but it was too sarcastic for my tastes. I think it is better to ignore people who make fun of you. This book suggested that approach, but also threw in a few sarcastic comebacks. It felt like the author is actually so polite in real life that she couldn't resist the urge to be sarcastic on paper, as payback. I appreciated the guide to goth music, but I wish it was more ext ...more
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Jillian Venters was a fairly spooky and morbid child. When she discovered the existence of the whole Gothic subculture, she clapped her hands with glee and fell upon it like a babybat upon a box of Count Chocula cereal. Since then, the Lady of the Manners has spent a not inconsiderable amount of time trying to gently persuade others in her chosen subculture that being a polite Goth is much, much m ...more
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