I wished I’d had a copy of Natasha Scharf’s book Worldwide Gothic: A Chronicle of a Tribe before I finished the Encyclopedia Gothica. There is alot of valuable information inside about the scene in other countries I did not know. And gorgeous photographs of beautiful girls. But it wasn’t published then. It is now though, and it’s lovely, and so I’d like to recommend it to all of you. In fact, if you have come here to read about my own Gothy musings I do think there are quite a few books on my library shelf about goth music, fashion and culture that you might enjoy. Thus, a quick list of recommended Goth Books for you to add to your holiday gift wish list (with links to Amazon that actually pay me back if you order them, I will admit, although I highly encourage supporting local indie shops) If your eyesight permits, I suggest reading them by candelight.
For the prettiest pictures: Gothic: Dark Glamour by Valerie Steele and Jennifer Park A compendium to a fashion exhibit at NYC’s FIT museum, covers goth style from batcave and graver club kids to runway haute couture to Japanese streetwear, this oversized hardcover is perfect for your reliquary table.
For the funniest decorating tips: Paint It Black: A Guide To Gothic Homemaking by Voltaire Writer/musician Voltaire is a cheeky bastard, and this little black book is filled with silly puns but also neat home decor ideas to gothify your crypt on a budget. Fun for the babybats!
For the most insider insight: The Goth Bible: A Compendium for the Darkly Inclined by Nancy Kilpatrick A survey of Goths circa early 2000s that tells the story from their pov. By Goths for Goths.
For the best pop cultural trip: Goth Chic: A Connoisseur’s Guide to Dark Culture by Gavin Baddely Not, as the title suggests, about fashion. Rather a survey of the darkest movies, books and music and more are explored in this thorough overview of What is Goth, including a section on fetish.
For the smartiest pants: Goth: Undead Subculture, edited by Lauren M.E. Goodlad and Michael Bibbby Academics, sociologists and the like take a stab at figuring us all out in this hefty collection of essays with subjects such as “The Art of Gothicizing Gender.” Layers of meaning are dissected; the conclusions may either fascinate or annoy you but there is much to be gleaned.
I would be remiss to not mention Mick Mercer here. He’s the grand-daddy of Goth books, but the ones I’ve got — Hex Files: The Goth Bible or 21st Century Goth are thick reference guides to all the bands, shops and zines/webzines in the world (for real!), indispensable when they were first published but now usurped by on-line directories. Still, you should pop over to his website and order one of his collections of vintage goth photos from his own vaults. They’re wicked.