Bohemian Manifesto: A Field Guide to Living on the Edge by Laren Stover

Illustrations by IZAK

Date of Publication: 2004, Bullfinch Press

Number of Pages: 265

Synopsis (from inside cover): Bohemianism is a way of life, a state of mind, an atmosphere. It’s about living richly and irreverently, beyond convention. It’s about being uninhibited, unbuttoned, creative and free.

Bohemian Manifesto is your entry into this world. It distills the penchants and peccadilloes of every kind of Bohemian and examines their vanities, vehicles, poetry, performances and passions – everything that makes the Bohemian so deviant yet so divinely seductive. What’s on their shelves? In the tub? On the turntable? What’s running wild? Bohemian Manifesto shimmers with all the incandescent ingredients that give counter-culture lifestyle its romantic reputation.

With humor and charm, this book inspires the way out of a brand-washed mass-market consumerist culture and into decadently delicious Bohemianism. Feel it, smell it, taste it, inhale it, and embrace, if you dare, its manifesto!

Review: This is one of those books that you can read over and over again. It’s not only humorous in its descriptions of Bohemian living, but it’s a wonderful escape from the rampant materialism that drives our everyday world. The Bohemian doesn’t worry about cleaning or working or any of those things that we think about constantly. Instead, Bohemian life centers on sensual and intellectual pleasures. Instead of “playing the game”, they do what they really want to do, whatever that may be, despite the consequences. It’s an incredibly seductive image to those like me who are scared of being trapped in the corporate box, which seems to lie in wait for everyone at some point in their lives.

Laren Stover obviously has knowledge of her subject, unlike some other writers who treat Bohemianism academically. Instead of presenting us with a romanticized image of care-free Bohemians, she presents us with the human side of the Bohemians. Although she does not dwell on the downside to to Bohemianism, the picture she paints is no less real. This book does not inspire me with the urge to abandon my home, family, and friends and hit the road with some traveling band of street performers. But it does inspire me to look at my life in a new way, and to adopt ways to live more naturally, outside the confines of the narrowly-defined norms that dictate our behavior, and sometimes even out thoughts. Bohemian Manifesto indeed provides us with a way out. I recommend that everyone read and take from this book something that will rescue them from the trappings of modern society.

Rating: 10/10

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