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Travellin' Penguin Pam

I would love to read a book about my American midwestern childhood in the 50s and 60s by John Steinbeck. His descriptions and perspectives on America and families would be incredibly interesting to me. Interesting idea.


I love neo-Victorian historical novels by Sarah Waters or Jane Harris. I have read other books by other authors that fit this category but I can’t think of any that are as accomplished writers. Sometimes other authors are overly enamored of their research or following some sort of check list (mad woman in the attic, check!, orphan protagonist, check!) so the book comes off as stilted and unnatural to me.

Dark Puss

I'd love to read a novel in which scientists were treated as in some sense "normal" human beings. They tend to appear as one (or more) of "evil genius", aspergic, nerdish, disconnected from reality, boring, sexless. Or, indeed, to not appear at all despite the very large number of us that have been released into the community!

I'd ask Haruki Murakami to write the novel as I think his writing has already many of the aspects that I'd like to see in my bespoke book, for example his magical realism, obsession with cats (talking or otherwise), the darkness, fear and sexuality inside us and what happens when those aspects interacts with others.

As one who does comission art works and clothes, one of the important aspects the person producing the commission brings to the project is their own style and advice. I'd expect my author to do the same, thus the bespoke part is primarily me chosing the author to commission, then leaving it up to his or her skills to produce the final artefact.

Barbara M. in NH

Wow.... this is a question! I want historical fiction, but written with ordinary people, not public figures. (I don't mind if they are peripheral figures, just want my main people to be totally imaginary, so I can pretend to be them..... think Dodie Smith or Elswyth Thane's Williamsburg novels which I read fanatically as an adolescent and find myself still loving as a 65+)...... the characters may be unbelievable, but the times they lived in were real, and well represented.

It is easier for me to feel connected to one of these characters and to absorb the feel of the century than in lots of current novels. I enjoyed the first "Maggie Hope" novel but was always conscious of how preposterous the story was. I hate that!


Barbara beat me too it. I too love historical fiction, and would also like them written about ordinary people, more with our ancestors in mind who toiled on the land as agricultural labourers (in my case), and led very different lives to the ones we live today, still absorbing. I do have a fascination with the way people lived and worked during WW2, farming and in the factories, keeping the home fires burning. That would do nicely.


Sarah Waters came to my mind immediately. I wouldn't presume to suggest a plot but would hope for the Gothic and dramatic contexts she can set so well and preferably the Victorian period.

Helen Rappaport comes next--another historical non-fiction book, please! She has a gift for picking exactly those people and events I wish to read about. I am about to start immediately re-reading her book on the last days of the final Tsar and his family because it sorts out the really tangled series of events with stunning clarity.

So Helen: how about the royalty of Roumania--if you do not find them too sordid?


Travellin' Penguin Pam: Do you know Elizabeth Enright's children's book, "Thimble Summer"? Sounds like the book you want to read.


What a nice choice! I love Murakami exactly for the reasons you mention, and I also like the way in which he describes loneliness - or should I say solitude? I am never quite sure about the difference between the two.


What a question! I'd like my bespoke book to deal with issues of culture and identity, so to be about somebody who has left their country of origin, or are of mixed origin and are confronted with settling in in a new place. So the book would deal with "being different", and I'd like the protagonist to live some adventures or deal with challenges that would allow her to discover her passions and calling. And I'd like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie to write it, I think she's one of the finest contemporary writers, a gifted storyteller that crafts character that feel totally real.

 Barbara MacLeod

I would like Alexander McCall Smith to write something about how “duty” is perceived in the younger generation these days, compared to the older generation (i.e. us). Maybe it could revolve around a birthday party or anniversary with the characters elaborating on who should be invited (or not) and why.

Dark Puss

Thank you Miriana! Solitude I think has no negative connotations where as loneliness has at its heart loss or absence.

Dark Puss

A nice suggestion - I have no sense of duty (cats rarely do except for themselves). DP


In the same vein as Barbara, I'd like Jane Austen to return and, keeping to her small canvass, write a novel based on today's society.

Di McDougall

I think i would order books like those of Tan Twan Eng.....serious, engaging the mind, well written. Maybe slightly softened.....always about people and choices and written with that limpid clarity

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