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Bohemian Manifesto: A Field Guide to Living on the Edge Hardcover – November 2, 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
Stover (The Bombshell Manual of Style) wrote her playful anthropology of Bohemian culture from an insiders viewpoint. The daughter of Bohemians, at one time a fully practicing Bohemian, and a now a Bohemian "with some bourgeois pretense," she is clearly steeped in the lifestyle. In this book, she documents the most important attributes of the five variations of Bohemians (Nouveau, Gypsy, Beat, Zen and Dandy) and of Bohemian philosophy generally, beginning with a "diagnosis" that serves mostly to emphasize how varied Bohemians are and how fiercely they resist any kind of classification. Stover is fully aware of the futile nature of her quest to pin down such elusive characters, and her writing is accordingly ironic, full of asides and amusing pseudo-scholarly footnotes. The books four main parts describe Bohemians in all their counterculture splendor, with short sections on everything from typical Bohemian names ("they name their offspring with the same whimsical sensibility with which they name their pets"), clothes, typical relationships, choice of reading material and music, and eating habits (featuring "The Twenty-Four-Hour Menu of the Starving Bohemian"). In fictionalized profiles of nine Bohemians from around the world, including Dantini the septuagenarian magician and Atlas the Dutch artist, Stover brings these unusual figures to life in a wonderfully familiar way. True Bohemians certainly wont need this book to decide whether theyre Bohemian, but may enjoy these humorous takes on their subculture, and non-Bohemians will find it a delightful introduction to that unique existence.
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About the Author
Laren Stover is the author of The Bombshell Manual of Style, and a novel, Pluto, Animal Lover, a finalist for The Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers award. She has been a resident of Yaddo and Hawthornden Castle and received the Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation grant for fiction in 1991. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Bomb, and The New York Observer. She lives in New York.
Top customer reviews
I was very wrong.
Upon flipping through the pages and gorgeous illustrations, not only did I realize that I knew what a Bohemian was (just never noticed it), but to some degree I am a Bohemian! Everyone is going around with some sort of name for themselves these days, a group they identify with, and I spent the last few years wondering who exactly I was. The answer was in this book. Bohemians are not lazy artists; they are vagabonds, wanderers, always on the lookout for odd jobs and artistic opportunities, and all while throwing extravagant parties for their friends and decorating everything in sight. They defy, resist, remodel, transform things. As stated by Stover, "Bohemians change the world."
If you are looking for an analysis of lazy whiners who call themselves artists, I suggest looking at a Hipster Manifesto, if there is one. I don't recommend this if you are a person who wears Ugg boots or sports jerseys, has an array of Apple products, or is stressing over being "cool" and "accepted"; go ahead and be a conformist, that's fine by me, no one is stopping you. But this book is very entertaining for both Bohemians-in-the-making and people who are outright curious in learning about their culture. This book is definitely worth the money!
It's a pretty interesting read. The Bohemian Manifesto records the lifestyle and attitudes of your stereotypical and generalized bohemian. How they dress, eat, love, what they read and even smoke is all in here. You'll probably read this and find your inner bohemian wanting to come out. I've heard a lot of people call me a bohemian, and certainly I know that I found a lot of references to myself in here, making this a very amusing book for me.
By-the-by, the watercolor illustrations are really nice and add a colorful touch. I rather enjoyed the one of the bohemians skinny dipping in a lake.
I would recommend this to someone who will take it with a grain of salt. Real bohemians might feel offended, people just reading for amusement will enjoy it, maybe even be inspired. I know that the music and book suggestions really appealed to me and I now have my new winter reading list.