Sequels We’d Like to See

After you read a great stand-alone novel or finish a wonderful series of books, do you wish the story would continue?

Of course, this isn’t possible if the author is deceased (though there’s the occasional ill-advised sequel by a different writer). And many novels don’t need a continuation — they ended perfectly. Still, one can dream, and this blog post will do that before it also asks which theoretical sequels you’d like to see.

When it comes to knowing what happens to cherished characters, readers this summer will get a chance at gratification (or disappointment) with the publication of Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman book featuring an older Scout and Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird. But that’s a rare instance of wish fulfillment, so let’s return to imaginary sequels.

As some of you know, my favorite novel is Jane Eyre, and thinking of a follow-up to that book seems almost blasphemous. After all, Charlotte Bronte wrote other books after Jane Eyre‘s 1847 publication while choosing not to revisit her most famous work. But if the 1855-deceased Bronte had lived as long as her husband (Arthur Bell Nichols didn’t die until 1906), who knows what she might have done?

In a hypothetical Jane Eyre sequel by Bronte, I would love to read more details about the title character’s marriage. And if Jane’s two-decades-older husband eventually predeceased her, what would her life have been like? Remarriage? Becoming a teacher again?

Daniel and Mirah’s time in Palestine, where they were heading at the end of George Eliot’s Daniel Deronda, would also be something to see.

Worth reading, too, would be a chronicle of the later lives of the three memorable siblings (good and bad) in The Brothers Karamazov. I’ve read that Fyodor Dostoyevsky, if death hadn’t intervened, planned to write two more Karamazov books to complete a trilogy.

How would adult life work out for angst-ridden teen John Grimes, the semi-autobiographical protagonist in James Baldwin’s Go Tell It On the Mountain? If John ended up having something like Baldwin’s career, that would be impressive!

If there were a sequel to Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, I’d be very curious to know what happens to disillusioned “fireman” Guy Montag and the outcast band of book lovers he joined.

The last Harry Potter book concludes with an epilogue that gives readers a glimpse of Harry, Hermione, and Ron as adults. It would be great to see that fleshed out, and there’s a chance it could eventually happen. But J.K. Rowling is certainly quite busy writing her non-magical novels.

If the authors were alive to write sequels, I’d also want to know whether Ravic the surgeon of Erich Maria Remarque’s Arch of Triumph survives World War II and how Maria in Ernest Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls fares after things go south for her lover Robert Jordan during the Spanish Civil War.

And I’d be curious to know what Isabel Archer — yoked to a ghastly marriage while still young in Henry James’ The Portrait of a Lady — ends up doing with her life. Isabel is smart, charismatic, and independently wealthy, yet wrestles with self-doubt and the restrictions and expectations women faced in the 19th century.

Days after I wrote the above paragraph, I reached a passage of The Master — Colm Toibin’s quietly engrossing novel about Henry James’ life — in which James’ niece Peggy asks her uncle if he intends to write a sequel to The Portrait of a Lady! Peggy is very dissatisfied with the momentous decision Isabel makes at the end of James’ 1881 classic.

Which novels would you like to see sequels to (in the case of deceased authors, theoretical sequels; in the case of living authors, sequels that are possible)? What would you like to see happen in those sequels?

(The box for submitting comments is below already-posted comments, but your new comment will appear at the top of the comments area β€” unless you’re replying to someone else.)

For three years of my Huffington Post literature blog, click here.

I’m writing a literature-related book, but still selling Comic (and Column) Confessional — my often-funny memoir that recalls 25 years of covering and meeting cartoonists such as Charles Schulz (“Peanuts”) and Bill Watterson (“Calvin and Hobbes”), columnists such as Ann Landers and “Dear Abby,” and other notables such as Hillary Clinton, Coretta Scott King, Walter Cronkite, and various authors. The book also talks about the malpractice death of my first daughter, my remarriage, and life in Montclair, N.J. — where I write the award-winning weekly “Montclairvoyant” humor column for The Montclair Times. You can email me at to buy a discounted, inscribed copy of the book, which contains a preface by “Hints” columnist Heloise and back-cover blurbs by people such as “The Far Side” cartoonist Gary Larson.

163 thoughts on “Sequels We’d Like to See

  1. Another wonderful post with so many great mentions. And like that there’s often been pick ups re sequels but not by the author. Scarlett is a case in point. Although Mitchell said she reckoned Scarlett never got Rhett back, Ripley reckoned otherwise. I never read it Sometimes Authors draw the line under a book because it’s done. I would have liked a follow up to Birds Without Wings.. de Bernieres’ book. I know he did all sorts of line drawing but I really liked the character of Leyla Hamm and I would have loved to know what happened to her.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow I love this so much. Especially when you wrote about Jane Eyre. I thought I had read the majority of your posts but I seemed to have missed the best one! But now I am glad I have come across this because it is such a great piece of writing. Thank you for writing this! I too being a lover of Jane Eyre would love to read a sequel. We will never get one but it is a nice thought. The whole book could have just been about Jane and Mr Rochester and I still would have loved it. There relationship is electrifying and magical. Unlike anything I have ever seen and I am so intrigued by your comment saying what would she have done if he had passed because he was so much older. I myself believe that Jane Eyre would not have re married because she loves Mr Rochester so much. I see myself in Jane Eyre in this sense because my husband is 15 years older than me (which yes! Turns heads but I am very mature for my age so no judgements!) and I know that I would never ever taint our love by ever being with somebody else and I feel that Jane Eyre would feel this way also. She loves him so much, too much so I really don’t believe she would re marry. I do believe she would go back to teaching though. Again you have written an amazing piece and I am happy to have read it! (:

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks so much for your VERY kind words, RedHeadedBookLover! Much appreciated. πŸ™‚

      Jane and Rochester’s relationship is indeed “electrifying and magical” — very nice phrase! — and one thing I like about it is that neither is particularly good-looking. They love each other for who they are. (Of course, the “Jane Eyre” movies have “prettified” that couple.)

      It WOULD be fascinating to see what their post-“Jane Eyre” life was like, and I see your point about how Jane might not have remarried if the two-decade-older Rochester pre-deceased her. One never knows, of course. It was interesting that George Eliot (one of my favorite authors) got married not that long after the death of her longtime partner/love of her life George Henry Lewes.

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      • You are so welcome! You have to give praise where due also my name is Aimee if you was curious! (:
        Yes, I agree. I love how they fell in love with each other’s souls as opposed to each other’s looks. It was a gradual kind of love with them what I love so much. True love is never rushed but when they made their feelings know they were unstoppable. One of my favourite parts to the novel is when Rochester proposes to Jane it still gives me ‘goose bumps’ even today. Also when they are reunited after his estate has been burned down that is also beautiful but also very heartbreaking because of his lose of sight. However once they are married and have a son that is what mends my broken heart. How he regained some of his eye sight to see his child being born. I still, even to this day cannot get over how beautiful this is. It still widely shocks me how even today many people have not read Jane Eyre which is one of the greatest works ever written. If not the most greatest! Novels such as these are meant to be read, they are meant to be experienced, they are meant to be breathed in. Jane Eyre is simply sensational. I did not know this about George Eliot! A part of me admires her for how she could move on but then a part of me can never understand it. I just believe that you should only be with that one person your whole life no matter how early they sadly leave you. P.s. It is so refreshing to talk to somebody about Jane Eyre!

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        • Thanks, Aimee, for your eloquent words about the Jane-Rochester relationship! That proposal scene IS memorable, including the storm and tree crash that don’t portend good things. And the happy yet kind of sad reunion — VERY powerful.

          I agree that “Jane Eyre” is one of the best novels ever written. (It’s my favorite, but I acknowledge that there are a handful of novels that might be a bit more impressive in certain ways — but not as riveting!)

          It IS enjoyable to discuss “Jane Eyre”! I think I’ve read it six times, most recently in 2013 or 2014. I also recently read Charlotte Bronte’s “Villette” for the first time. Very good, but it doesn’t have anywhere near the emotional wallop of “Jane Eyre.”

          In terms of remarrying or not, I guess people make different decisions — and that’s fine. πŸ™‚

          Liked by 2 people

  3. Great suggestions all but how about some imaginary part two’s to classic poems ?
    The Emperor of Ice Cream begets The Regent of Rice Pudding .
    Ode to a Grecian Urn > Elegy for a Big Gulp Collectable .
    Easter 1916 followed by International Talk Like a Pirate Day .
    Apologies to Yeats, Keats and Wallace Stevens πŸ™‚

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  4. “And if Jane’s two-decades-older husband eventually predeceased her…”

    Predeceased, eh? That’s a clumsy ‘word’ that should have been aborted, I think, before it sprang full-blown from the mind of its creator, who I know very well is not you.

    Still, in the name of lovelier English, I hope you will join me in its unemployment next time you get the chance.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. There’s one book, sometimes known as The Book, that I think might benefit from a sequel, for the purposes of clarification, as it has been the last first and word on everything for millions over many long years, despite ambiguities and even contradictions rife throughout its sprawling, free-wheeling sorta-structure. You’d think it would have been too much to ask of a reader’s willing suspension of disbelief, but the book already contains a sort sequel in itself–the part where the main character returns from the dead, which has not been nearly enough to blunt its adherents’ enthusiasm, since faith among them is practically boundless, and fundamental, even foundational. Then there’s all that wild stuff in the back by that Revelator fellow– for real?

    The author, might be expected to clear up any number of mysteries and questions contained in His first book, should He someday choose to write one. Problem for us mortals: He’s got all the time in the world, more even, yet appears, though invisible, to have chosen to wait, as only He can, for inspiration– though where it might come from, apart from Himself, is beyond me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • VERY impressive and inventive comment, jhNY!!!

      A sequel to The Bible would stir up even more interest than the prior-written sequel to “To Kill a Mockingbird,” and I can see the godly author eschewing a guest spot on “The Daily Show” for an appearance on “The Eternity Show.”

      And I won’t even get into the possibility of The Father, Son, and Holy Ghostwriter. We’ll let the critics sort that out…


  6. I just re-read a book that could conceivably spawn a sequel–‘Midnight Cowboy’. Here’s my review on Amazon, title ‘Misfits that flock together in the Big, Heartless Apple’:

    For anyone that has seen the film, the ending is not a spoiler, nor the fact that if there could ever be a sequel it will basically be about Joe Buck (minus his traveling companion Ratso) in Florida. He’s landed in the promised land, Florida and he has essentially destroyed his previous identity. An interesting novel could have been written about Joe’s adventures in Florida.

    By the way, I highly recommend reading ‘Midnight Cowboy’. In my opinion it stands alongside ‘Of Mice and Men’.

    Liked by 2 people

    • bobess48, a sequel to the “Midnight Cowboy” novel would have been a wonderful idea! Too bad James Leo Herlihy is no longer around to write it. A character being in a different place, having a different relation with the world (in this case minus his friend), and developing a different self-view all are great ingredients for a follow-up.

      Exceptional review you wrote. Thanks for linking to it! I’ve read many of your book reviews, and they are all impressive.


  7. have mentioned this book before wish they would do a sequel of the help by Catherine stockett. Would be nice to know what happened to all of the character’s and how the coped with all the changes.Never forgot any of them.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Kristy! I’ve never read “The Help,” but it sounds like you liked it a lot. The author certainly has many years of writing left, so I guess a sequel is possible… πŸ™‚


    • Thank you for the comment, Jack!

      Yes, Ray Bradbury wrote a LOT of great stuff — “The Martian Chronicles,” “The Illustrated Man,” “Dandelion Wine,” and scores of other memorable works. Some of them would have led to very interesting sequels, if he had written them.

      And then there was Bradbury’s screenplay for John Huston’s “Moby-Dick” film. I guess only Ishmael could have been in a sequel to THAT… πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Great essay per usual Dave, the first book that occurred to me is one you lit on – The Brothers Karamazov- As you noted Dostoevsky had planned a sequel but passed away probably before he could even begin. As I recall from reading many bios and critical essays quite a few years ago the idea was that following the death of his beloved Elder Zosima , the murder of his father and unjust incarceration of Dmitri for same along with his painfully awkward “relationship issues” Alyosha was to leave his religious order and wander Russia in a kind of pilgrim’s progress from debauchery to enlightenment redemption and a return to the church and tradition. I don’t think it would have worked. Dostoevsky the reactionary social crank was often at war with Dostoevsky the novelist and in the end the novelist usually won.In short Alyosha is such a rare example of a fully thee dimensional character that is also a gentle and likable human being that a prolonged fall from grace would seem unthinkable. The allegory and symbolism would be far too obvious and contrived for the man who wrote Crime and Punishment to keep up. Still it is intriguing to imagine what would have came of the attempt and would he have changed course.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Donny! Glad you liked the post!

      Fascinating comment — I hadn’t known what Dostoyevsky might have had in mind for “The Brothers Karamazov” sequels that never happened.

      Alyosha was certainly a rare breath of fresh air in that amazing novel. A mostly good person amid many somewhat or very despicable people. It would indeed have been hard to see him lose his moral compass, even temporarily.


  9. Dave, I’m staying mostly literary on this one. For movies, I really wish they’d done more with the Daniel Day Lewis version of “Last of the Mohicans.”

    Book wise I always wanted a sequel for “Caverns of Socrates” by Dennis L. McKiernan. McKiernan is a fantasy author who goes on a literary trip with this Science Fantasy exploring the titular concept. I wanted this to be expanded beyond just the one story, taking it into a wider world than what he did. The concepts in the book just caught my attention and got me ready Plato (abridged) in 9th grade.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’ve never seen “The Last of the Mohicans” movie, GL, but it sounds like it didn’t do the book justice. That novel and the four other books in James Fenimore Cooper’s “Leatherstocking” series are tremendous. (You of course recommended them to me last year.) The five books covered a huge swath of Natty Bumppo’s life, and he had no descendants, so it’s hard to imagine a sequel. Perhaps a before-“The Deerslayer” prequel of when Natty was a boy and met his Native American pal Chingachgook…

      And thanks for your mention of, and thoughts on, “Caverns of Socrates”!


      • Regarding the film of ‘The Last of the Mohicans’ I can say that I feel it vastly improved on the novel. As you may have guessed, I was not a fan of that novel and that exaggerated style was justly parodied by Mark Twain in ‘Fennimore Cooper’s Literary Offenses’. I thought the movie had far more depth of feeling. You actually cared about the characters, even the rather shallow twit of a British military officer. I remember when I read the novel in my American Novel class about 40 years ago exactly thinking, “My God, Edgar Rice Burroughs is a much better adventure writer than this guy!” I have never gotten the nerve to return to Cooper. I know that you, Dave, are probably having a conniption fit right about now so just calm down. We can’t all like all the same antiquated literary works. I really wondered why that novel was included alongside the likes of ‘The Scarlet Letter’, ‘Moby-Dick’, ‘Huckleberry Finn’ and ‘The Ambassadors’. I supposed it must have been historically significant as Cooper was really the first really successful American novelist and for that he earns a place in literary history but not because of his literary quality. Check out the film. It is visually quite beautiful and it’s far more poignant and emotional and actually elicited a tear or two–something Cooper’s book never could have managed.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thanks, bobess48! I know Mark Twain and some others were/are not big fans of James Fenimore Cooper. I went into the five “Leatherstocking” novels curious if I would like them or not. I could see their flaws, but overall found them very compelling. “The Last of the Mohicans” is of course the most famous of the five, but I preferred “The Deerslayer” and one or two others.

          That said, we all have different literary preferences, and I have no problem with that. πŸ™‚ Also, I agree that Melville, Hawthorne, Twain, and Henry James were better authors than Cooper (though, as you note, Cooper was a very significant figure in early American novel writing).

          And I should watch “The Last of the Mohicans” movie, and see what I think!

          As an aside, it was interesting to have Cooper’s grandniece — author Constance Fenimore Woolson — as a character in Colm Toibin’s “The Master” novel about Henry James.


          • That Constance Fennimore Woolson chapter of Henry James’ life is interesting and ripe for speculation. In fact, there is one book called ‘A Private Life of Henry James’ (I forget the author’s name at the moment) builds its whole premise on HJ’s relationship with women–his invalid sister Alice, his early love that died young, Minnie Temple and Constance, with whom he shared a villa in Italy. Even in cosmopolitan Italy, a man and woman living under the same roof might attract attention, never mind that the relationship might be purely platonic.Also, I am not sure how much of Henry’s prudish upbringing and standards he brought with him to Europe (quite a lot I would think, based on all his scandalized American tourists in Europe in his novels and stories). Nevertheless, the rumor was that Constance killed herself due to unrequited love from Henry and that he bore a tremendous burden of guilt. I suspect the author spins a psychoanalytical theory for the theme of all the doomed heroines in his fiction–the ones that can be loved and mourned by their admirers because they are safely dead. There’s even a great later story, ‘The Altar of the Dead’ about a man who pretty much builds a shrine to all the dead people in his life. Anyway, the Constance/Henry relationship was, quite possibly, the closest, most intense relationship he ever had with another person, whether it ever involved a sexual component or not.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Terrific comment, bobess48!

              Colm Toibin’s depictions of Henry James’ close relationships with the people you mentioned — and with others such as that servant and that sculptor — were expert and subtle. It often felt like one was reading a novel by Henry James himself, which I’m sure was something Toibin strove for.

              I learned so many interesting things in “The Master,” such as Minnie Temple being at least partly a model for Isabel Archer in “The Portrait of a Lady.”


            • “Henry James as we now know was an extremely active homoerotic lover with many partners.”– Harold Bloom in today’s HuffPost

              Perhaps this explains something about James’ relations with women….

              Liked by 1 person

      • The movie didn’t do the book justice, but it told a slightly different story and did it well. I would watch it, in widescreen, just for the vistas and music.

        Telling the Leather Stockings tales in any way true to the book would require multiple TV season I think.

        Liked by 1 person

        • You’re right, GL, that Natty Bumppo’s eventful life could never fit into a two-hour movie! I forget the length of each of those “Leatherstocking” novels, but I imagine the five of them totaled at least 1,500 to 2,000 pages.


  10. One sequel I would love to read is a follow-up of The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver. The ending is satisfactory, but there are three specific characters whose lives and back stories could easily cross over into a Part II:

    (1) Taylor Greer, the protagonist – Taylor was a street smart, intelligent, and headstrong young woman. She left her home state of Kentucky to build a life out West. Taylor gained custody (first informally, then formally) of a little girl, which was significant because she swore off motherhood. Taylor was a young woman who was finding her way, and for her to take on the motherhood role was definitely a big deal. Taylor and her daughter Turtle had quite a journey navigating through life, but somehow they made it work.

    (2) Turtle (Taylor’s daughter) – Turtle’s short life was not pleasant. She didn’t have parents and was abused physically, sexually, and emotionally by her aunt’s boyfriend. When Taylor stopped at a diner in Oklahoma, a woman approached her with a small child, and ordered Taylor to take the child because no one wanted her. Taylor naturally resisted; the woman persisted. By the time Taylor left the diner, the child was in her car. Turtle had a horrific childhood, but during her months with Taylor, the little girl began to thrive.

    (3) Lou Ann (Taylor’s roommate and friend) – Lou Ann was a young mother of a small boy who, similar to Taylor, was originally from Kentucky and traveled West to figure out her way through life. She was abandoned by her husband Angel who didn’t want the responsibilities of a family. Taylor crossed paths with Lou Ann after answering an ad for a roommate. These two ladies decided to live and raise their children together. It was more of a communal/village environment because Taylor’s boss and friends were very supportive of both Lou Ann and Taylor.

    I think the individual and intertwined lives of Taylor, Turtle, and Lou Ann could be developed into a Bean Trees sequel. For Taylor, I’d like to see how she handled new motherhood, living out West, leaving her family behind in Kentucky, and generally how far she got in life.

    For Turtle, the readers saw the beginning of her positive transition…she was talking, playing, laughing, and showing an interest in nature and life. A few months prior to meeting Taylor, those accomplishments would not have occurred. I enjoy happy endings that involve children, so it would be interesting to see just how far she went in her emotional growth.

    And for Lou Ann, I would like to see how things ended with her husband. When he left his family, Lou Ann pulled herself together, got a job in a salsa factory, worked her way up to a management position, and raised her son with her “village.” Her husband Angel gave some indications that he wanted to return. Lou Ann had built a new life for herself and her son, and Kingsolver sort of left the possibility of Angel’s return open-ended. The feminist in me cheered Lou Ann on and was proud of what all she accomplished. I’d hate to see her give up everything she worked so hard for. Angel was not reliable; who knows what he would do if the pressures of family life got to him again? I think that’s an angle that can be explored.

    The Bean Trees is excellent, but I feel there is another story that can be told.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think a sequel to almost any Barbara Kingsolver novel would be very worth reading, Ana. You eloquently/descriptively make a GREAT case for “The Bean Trees,” and for wanting to see what happens with those three memorable characters. Bravo! (Or should I say, Brava?)

      In terms of other Kingsolver books, for instance, I would love to see what happens with Dellarobbia in a “Flight Behavior II” novel (as she lives a more independent life).


        • That WOULD be great to read, Kristy. The five of them were certainly interesting and (mostly) sympathetic characters — unlike their father/husband. Actually, that guy was interesting, but not sympathetic. And, yes, some of the villagers would be sequel-worthy, too.


      • A reader on here who also follows me on Twitter sent me a message saying that The Bean Trees does have a sequel. I had no idea.

        Pigs in Heaven picks up the stories of Taylor and Turtle in Arizona. After Turtle’s formal adoption in AZ was complete, a Cherokee attorney launched an investigation into whether or not the adoption was legal. The attorney wanted Turtle removed from Taylor’s care and raised within the Cherokee nation, so there was a tug-of-war between Taylor, the state of AZ, and the Cherokee tribe.

        I so want to read this. Already sent out inquiries to my regional go-to bookstores.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Howdy, Dave!

    β€” Which novels would you like to see sequels to (in the case of deceased authors, theoretical sequels; in the case of living authors, sequels that are possible)? β€”

    β€œRabbit, Resurrected”?

    J.J. (Alias MugRuith1)

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Hi Dave..I have mixed feelings on reading a sequel when the book itself is so complete !

    Let me start with much talk about “To kill a Mockingbird” which is also my all time favorite where Atticus was the main figure the widower who took the role of both the parents of Jem and Scout and there was the unforgettable Boo Radley.
    Now written before To Kill A Mockingbird, and about to be released “Go Set a Watchman” features many of the same characters, with an adult Scout Finch returning to her native Alabama from New York to visit her father.
    Irrespective of the controversy I am not sure if I want to read the book.
    Have not read “Scarlet” written by someone else and then several of “Darcy” either.

    Recently read “The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry” by Rachael Joyce a wonderful read and the end was nothing that I expected. Now the sequel to that is just released, “The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy” which I borrowed but returned, not ready to read it now.

    The one sequel I enjoyed thoroughly was Stieg Larsson’s the millennium trilogy series . Unfortunately he died before writing the forth followup .
    And of course Jack Reacher series by Lee Child.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Excellent comment, bebe, and I hear you. It’s almost irresistible to read a sequel of a novel one loves, but there’s often disappointment.

      My original plan was to buy “Go Set a Watchman” as soon as it was published, but lately I’ve been thinking I might wait awhile. (I’m pretty sure I’ll read it eventually.) “To Kill a Mockingbird” is so amazing — nearly perfect — that “Go Set a Watchman” has an impossible standard to live up to.

      As has also been discussed elsewhere in this comments section, publishing houses and authors trying to ride on Jane Austen’s coattails just seem so greedy and wrong.

      You’re right about Stieg Larsson’s trilogy. It went from A+ to A++ to A+++. But, because the upcoming fourth book is by someone else, I don’t think I want to read it.

      As for the Jack Reacher novels, Lee Child is just off-the-charts consistent. I’ve read six of the books now, and each one is as fantastic as the others.

      Liked by 2 people

      • One thing I’d like to clarify about ‘Go Set a Watchman’. It is NOT a sequel even though the events take place many years after ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’. It was Harper Lee’s first novel, written before she had even thought of writing ”TKAM’. In a sense, ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ is a sequel or prequel actually to the earlier novel. It’s more analogous to finally finding an early novel that’s not discovered until long after the author’s death although Harper Lee is still very much alive fortunately. This already puts her ahead of all those posthumously published books. No one ever questions what the author’s wishes would have been because no one can know if they’re already gone. Personally, I don’t see it as having any bearing on what one thinks of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’. No one is replacing ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ in any way. I will read ‘Go Set a Watchman’ with the understanding that it is a first novel so I really have no expectations of it reaching the level of its successor. Apparently, Harper Lee didn’t think it was worth pursuing either as she quickly forgot about it. I just view it as a literary curiosity and that is how I will be reading it.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Very true, Brian! By being written before “To Kill a Mockingbird” but taking place after, it’s sort of a prequel/sequel hybrid. πŸ™‚ And a “literary curiosity” (that was found while the author is still alive rather than long gone) is an EXCELLENT way to label the upcoming book.

          Whether “Go Set a Watchman” is bad or so-so or good, it will have no bearing on what I think of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” either.


      • Hi Dave…As the rumor mill goes, Ms. Lee was against publishing the novel and her sister a lawyer always protected her. And now…
        But as Brian Bess said…at least she is alive. I am planning to read reviews in your blog then make the decision. If I don`t get to read it, no stress there are so many other books out there.
        As you say riding on Jane Austen`s coattail , this sound the same as that as some says Lee has poor eye sight and is deaf. She has lived in a nursing home since 2007.Then others say she is as sharp as a tack.
        Whatever the reason might be a manuscript like that always gets published.

        You are so correct on Larson`s trilogy..i didn’t know a book is about to come out, oh my πŸ˜€

        You are ahead of Lee`Child`s Reacher , I am on my 6th now.
        Happy reading πŸ˜‰

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yes, bebe, there is that controversy about how “on board” (or not) Harper Lee was with the upcoming novel. I really hope she approved, but who knows? When there’s money to be made by book publishers that are part of corporate conglomerates, decisions that should be creative decisions often become business decisions. 😦

          Seeing reviews of “Go Set a Watchman” before choosing whether to read it or not sounds like an excellent idea!

          It looks like the fourth Millennium book will be published this August:

          As for the Reacher books, I haven’t started my seventh yet, but hopefully in two or three days. πŸ™‚

          Liked by 1 person

          • George Goulding is doing the translation, I don`t know who did the first three but were done superbly.
            Dave so much greed is involved from Larsson`s Father and Brother , the long time partner was denied of everything. There own life story is worth another mystery.
            Scene behind the millennium trilogy.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Good morning, bebe!

              The translations of the first three Millennium novels WERE great. Everything read so seamlessly, and the tension was amazing. Jack Reacher-like, or more.

              A book about Stieg Larsson and his longtime partner would be VERY interesting. The partner does seem to have been treated badly in this whole greedy deal. I read that they didn’t marry because Stieg worried that that might get her embroiled in some legal troubles or danger because of his investigative-journalism work. (I might be remembering that wrong.)

              Liked by 1 person

      • @ Ana…hellooooooooo…I know you wrote to me…saw it yesterday was going to write today and darn, cant find it, not even in my notification..must search more 😦

        Liked by 1 person

          • Oh I am so sorry she deleted that , it was hectic yesterday and I was planning to write today.
            Anyways…about my bird bath I don`t have it outside as yet because these folks mulch our yard every spring and by doing that somehow when trimming dead branches they must have cut the outside lawn light cord. Hopefully it is fixed now as someone came to work on them today. So tomorrow i will have my bird bath.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Sorry about your outside light cord. I hope it’s fixed now!

              My adventure with branch cutting was when I hired someone to cut branches near my (former) house’s power wires. They cut the branches — and the wires, too. 😦

              Liked by 1 person

              • Exactly…they could not figure out why the day they mulched the lights were off. ” But we were so careful” they go. So when this other man who does sprinklers but do lights if find time came today, I asked do you think some animals chewed it ? He said nope it`s been cut 😦

                Liked by 1 person

                • Ah, yes, the guilty parties often play innocent in cases like that. Happened several times when we were getting our house fixed up to sell. “Your floor is gashed? How did that happen? It wasn’t us! Are you sure it hasn’t always been that way?”

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • That is too funny..but exactly. We need to paint outside trims and I am dreading those time coming soon. We are taking bids now..
                    Then there is this well known company charged 1200.00 $$$$$$$$$$$ for blocking squirrels when they delegate the job to critters getters and could have done it for a few hundred.
                    But that is on my husband for panicking and calling this company.

                    Liked by 1 person

        • bebe, I asked Dave to remove it because I opted to email you instead.

          But the comment I posted was about bird baths. I asked how did you attract birds to yours because I’m not having any luck with mine. Yours is so pretty, especially with that lavender that I’ve had my eye on for two years now.

          I was on Facebook last night with my Cape Verdean grandmother, and she was fussing at me because I totally ignored all of the advice she gave me earlier this year on how to have a successful bird bath.

          You know you’re in trouble when your own grandmother scolds you in both English and Portuguese…

          Liked by 1 person

          • Don`t worry, I don`t get any in mine and if I do i don`t see them because the bb in in the front of my house so unless I park myself in the spot there is no way of knowing.
            In my back it is like a beautiful forest so green with tall trees. In our floor above deck I hang finch feeders..and they come in yellow, red and brown…awesome.
            Then outside have one fake fountain with few tires I just throw bird seeds in there for cardinal and others away from the house.
            I know I owe you pictures they are still in my camera..too many thinks happening.
            I should be able to soon enough.

            Liked by 1 person

            • I’ve given up the bird bath thing. The garden store where I bought it from does not offer refunds, only exchanges and store credit. So I exchanged it for two okra plants and will use the balance as store credit this fall when the seasonal/autumn dΓ©cor comes in.

              FYI: Bath & Body Works has their semi-annual sale going on right now. I loaded up on scented candles, body splash, and hand soap this morning. Now all I need is for Target or Walgreens to run a sale on their Cetaphil products, and I will be a happy woman.

              Liked by 2 people

              • Now I have by landscaping lights on, the mulch people evidently cut the cord while cutting the dead lavenders this spring,,just have my bird bath in display. Sits in between the lavenders simple love it. Unusual looking caught by eye coupe of years ago.
                Oh I like Cetaphil, the moisturizer is the best beats any name brand expensive product, use the lotion as well.

                Liked by 1 person

    • bebe, I just purchased the first novel on the bargain book shelf — my sister, who loved the first book, thought that the book about Queenie was even better than the first one.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Hi Kat Lib..nice to know, have you read the first one as yet ? It was beautifully written worth winning the Booker prize. My friend has also have read the second one and loved it.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. I agree that Scarlett was a huge disappointment, though I was pleased that she and Rhett were back together and that, finally, one of Scarlett’s babies might have a happy home.
    I need to look for Wild Saragasso Sea. Did not realize it was a prequel to Jane Eyre. For that matter I need to reread Jane Eyre.
    A look at Huck Finn in the West would have been great, since Twain spent a good bit of time in that area. But would an adult Huck Finn be as much fun as the boy? Do we really want to see Huck married and slogging through a job he doesn’t like.
    I think the Harry Potter series ended at the right time. I just finished the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series and wanted more, but realized that we already knew the ending.
    I recently read Timekeeper and Timekeeper II by John Atkinson, exciting stories that followed the runaway teen’s growth to semi-maturity. I wanted more, but realized that sometimes imagining the future is the best sequel.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for your interesting and wide-ranging thoughts, energywriter!

      I guess with something like “Scarlett” (which I haven’t read) it’s a disappointment for many readers but not a disappointment for the publisher making a lot of money off of it. 😦

      “Wide Sargasso Sea” humanized Rochester’s first wife more, and also helped further explain how he ended up marrying her and how he soon deeply regretted it.

      I hear you about Huck Finn. It would interesting to read about his adult life, yet maybe not the best thing. There’s something to be said to having him frozen as a boy in our reader memories.

      Great concluding line about how “sometimes imagining the future is the best sequel”!


        • You’re right, Kristy. Almost anything would be possible with Huck — from being a “lower-class” wanderer to being a professional. He was not that interested in material things, had a lot of depth, was capable of growth, and more.

          It IS fun to speculate. πŸ™‚


        • “Tom Sawyer, Detective” is probably a letdown to most people on what they consider to be a sequel, and I think, at only 11 chapters, maybe Twain himself just doesn’t know what to do with Huck, though, everyone that reads it does expect him to head out for Indian territory.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Thanks, Eric! I’ve never read “Tom Sawyer, Detective,” but, as you know, it’s certainly not considered a Twain classic. Twain wrote some less-than-stellar novels during the final two decades of his life. He needed money so he sometimes wrote too fast, and some great authors just don’t do great work after a certain age. (But his late-career “Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc” novel was excellent.)


            • You are right about that, Dave, and sorry for the excessive typos. I am feeling a bit more situated here in China, after a very tumultuous year in Japan.

              Liked by 1 person

              • Great, Eric, that you’re getting used to your new country and situation! Sounds like the year in Japan could have better. You have really been getting around Asia during the past few years, with your South Korea teaching job as well.

                (I fixed a couple of typos; I wish this blog allowed people to revise their own comments. I don’t mind at all doing it, but it would be nice if people had more of their own control!)


  14. Hi Dave … It’s a short story, not a book, but what about O Henry’s “The Ransom of Red Chief”? Wouldn’t you just love to know how that little rascal turned out? πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Claire! Prequels can absolutely be included in this discussion, and might be worth a whole other post of their own. πŸ™‚

      While “Wide Sargasso Sea” is of course by a different author (Jean Rhys) than the author of “Jane Eyre,” it’s definitely a prequel to Charlotte Bronte’s novel — and a very good one. It certainly makes one think a lot more about Rochester’s first wife.


  15. I was about to post this idea but Eric beat me to it. There have been other alternate takes on ‘Huckleberry Finn’ including one that I bought in the 70’s and still own but have never read, ‘The True Adventures of Huckleberry Finn as told by John Seelye’. John Seelye was an English professor/literary critic and I don’t know if this was his only attempt at writing a real novel or not but I still own it as a curiosity. Mark Twain himself wrote a few attempts at more Tom and Huck tales, including ‘Tom Sawyer Detective’ and another one where Tom and Huck went on a balloon somewhere. Neither of those are highly regarded. I’m curious about the adult Huck. Would his fate have resembled in any way that of his creator? Riverboat pilot? Gold prospector? Con man? He could have gone any number of different directions. Of course, as he was chronologically about the same age as Mark Twain that would make him an adult during the Civil War years. Would he have fought and, if so, whose side would he have fought on? Or would he, like his creator, simply desert and ‘light out for the territory’? I would hope that as an adult he would have learned a few things such as to steer clear of his one-time boyhood buddy Tom and never follow his kind of advice again. With a friend like Tom, Huck would probably be better off with the King and the Duke.

    Liked by 1 person

    • bobess48, you’re right about Mark Twain writing some later, “lighter” works featuring Huck and Tom, but it’s a shame he didn’t author a sequel that approached the depth of “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.” You asked some terrific questions about possible paths Huck’s life could have taken.

      I hadn’t previously thought of Huck as being a semi-autobiographical young Twain, but I can see that interpretation.

      And, yes, avoiding Tom Sawyer would only be to Huck’s benefit!


      • Well, both Huck and Tom were boys at exactly the same time as Sam Clemens was a boy in Hannibal, Missouri although their town is St. Petersburg, located on the Mississippi River as Hannibal is. I think an ‘adult Huck’ type novel exists in some ways as Thomas Berger’s ‘Little Big Man’, which has a very similar tone and spirit as ‘HF’. The main character of Jack Crabb does go through several adventures both living with the Indians and with the white man so he has a unique vantage point on the culture. I think Huck would have drifted and wandered about and let’s remember that before Sam Clemens became a settled writer, he went through several money-making and losing pursuits (riverboat pilot, gold prospector, finally a newspaper writer out west and finally in San Francisco where his first fictional pieces were published and his reputation and career took off. When we’re reading ‘Huck Finn’ we’re in the mind of a 14-year old boy and much of what he says is oral, as if someone were taking dictation. Occasionally, the authorial voice of Mark Twain steps in with the beautifully rendered depictions of the river at dawn. For Huck to become a real writer I would think he’d have to buckle down and really learn to read and write before he could write something like a professional piece of writing–a ‘real-world’ Huck that is. Faulkner once said that the only thing Huck had going against him in fending for himself in the world was his age but that he would grow up and, if he kept that integrity he would be as honorable as any adult, or something along those lines. But that, like this entire blog post and thread is pure speculation. We’re fantasizing here, aren’t we? As we’ve seen some of these modern day sequels fall flat and possess none of the distinction of the classic originals. But we can continue to fantasize, can’t we? Forgive the rambling. I’m just getting awake, trying to prepare for a day at work.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yes, discussing imaginary sequels is all just fun fantasy, bobess48. πŸ™‚ As you note, when we get the occasional reality, it often falls flat. That’s almost always the case when a different author stands in for a long-deceased one, but sometimes also the case when authors write their own sequels.

          Huck Finn would indeed need more “finishing” to possibly become a great writer, but he definitely had the humanity and the basic intelligence to theoretically pull it off. Mark Twain himself had a humble background and, as you said, experienced quite a bit before he truly turned to writing — experiences which of course turned out to be absolutely crucial and central to his writing. Sort of like Herman Melville’s young years at sea, only more eclectic!


        • But doesn’t the novel end with Huck declaring that he is happy to finish writing his story, which would imply that anyone who could write 300 pages, bad grammar and all, is quite skilled at writing a story when he states “… and so there ain’t nothing more to write about, and I am rotten glad of it, because if I’d a knowed what a trouble it was to make a book I wouldn’t a tackled it, and ain’t a-going to no more.” Some versions actually have “Respectfully,”

          That is why with all of the inherent grammar, Huck would still be a writer in the third, or maybe not as the case was that he states he would not write another.

          Liked by 1 person

          • I see your point, Eric. (I just pulled my copy of “Huckleberry Finn” off the shelf to take a look at the last page.) I guess that even though Huck “wrote” the novel it was really Mark Twain who wrote it because Huck at his age couldn’t have written something as great. It’s complicated… πŸ™‚

            Of course, if Huck were an adult in a hypothetical third novel, I might call him the “author”!


    • That is a really great point about Huck. I think though, that if another novel was written, the adult Huck would surely have been either a newspaper editor or writer since “Huck Finn”, when you get to the last line, is essentially a really long letter(?) or book(?/) depending on the edition you buy.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ana, the other sequel I was thinking of is called ‘Tom Sawyer Abroad’. Here’s the Wikipedia entry:

        It too is available from Project Gutenberg.

        I also recall, probably sometime in the 1960’s. when Life Magazine I believe published a fragment of a story called ‘Among the Indians’. They very rarely published fiction and this, along with a selection from ‘Old Man and the Sea’ and one of Ray Bradbury’s tales may have been the only times they did. I never read it although Tom and Huck head west and run into a tribe of Indians. I do recall that the fragment ended in the middle of a sentence. Obviously, MT was interrupted and apparently never thought or cared to get back to the story.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Never heard of that title either. The only Twain short story with Abroad in the title that I have on my Kindle is Goldsmith’s Friend Abroad, Again. This one is my personal favourite. I love his writing and wit, and it is quite funny.

          I don’t know too many people who have this as a hobby, but I enjoy finding and collecting partial/unpopular/not well-known pieces of literature. My mentor and friend during the time I lived in East Africa loved that hobby. I don’t know how he acquired them, but he collected old published pieces from The Chicago Tribune, Saturday Evening Post, Southern Register (a lot of Richard Wright’s earlier short stories were published in that newsletter), and some international publications. That’s why I previously asked if you had some type of background in informatics, history, or research. The way you organise your posts sort of reminds me of my late mentor, and part of his academic background was in library science & reseach.

          Just downloaded Tom Sawyer Abroad. If you like public domain E-book sites, you might want to check out Librivox and Very nice selections of audiobooks and E-books. Thanks again. Have a good weekend.

          Liked by 1 person

  16. Growing up I often thought about sequels for my favorite movie characters lives. We now live in a time when we get more than we ever wanted.
    I never really thought much about books. I like your mention of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, VocareMentor! Thinking about what happens to certain movie characters after the credits roll is indeed interesting.

      “Fahrenheit 451” was a short novel, and I think that was among several reasons (in addition to its dramatic, intriguing content) that it left readers wanting more.


  17. Oh, Dave. There are so many possibilities here. Some sequels I’d like to see: “To Resurrect a Mockingbird,” “Go Tell It in the Valley,” “Fahrenheit 452.0,” “For Who the Bell Tolls: A Grammar for the Internet,” “The Portrait of a Transgender Lady,” “Of Human Liberty,” “Adventures of Huckleberry Swede” and on and on. I bet you could write most of them.

    Liked by 2 people

    • So hilarious, Bill! I can’t even pick a favorite from your ingenious titles.

      I guess I’d also like to have seen Charles Dickens write a six-weeks-later sequel to “A Christmas Carol” called “A Lincoln’s Birthday Carol”…


  18. Oh, goodness! Where to begin????? I think you and I were discussing “Cannery Row” and its sequel “Sweet Thursday” when the idea for this post came up. Even though “Sweet Thursday” was a WONDERFUL sequel that I just couldn’t wait to read, I wanted sequel # 2, “Finally Friday” to exist because I became so fond of these characters that I wanted to be a part of their lives forever and ever.

    I would LOVE for Fannie Flagg to write a sequel to “Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe” so that we could actually find out what happened to Idgie Threadgoode in the years between “then” and “now”. What became of Idgie after Ruth died? Did Ninny Threadgoode move in with Evelyn Couch and her husband? Enquiring minds want to know! πŸ™‚

    The sequel that SHOULDN’T have been written is “Scarlett”. I read it, even though I’m ashamed to admit it. I wanted to see what the author said, but Margaret Mitchell is the only person who actually KNEW what happened to Rhett and Scarlett and she didn’t get to write the sequel. It was rumored that she WAS working on a sequel at the time of her death, but that may just be an urban legend.

    I think I like leaving “Jane Eyre” right where we left her at the end of the book.

    Liked by 2 people

    • You’re remembering correctly, lulabelleharris. πŸ™‚ And I remember loving your idea for a sequel to the “Sweet Thursday” sequel, and admiring your “Finally Friday” title.

      A follow-up book to “Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe” would be wonderful — and Fannie Flagg is still around to (hypothetically) write it!

      I’ve never read “Scarlett.” I wonder if anyone has ever written a truly great sequel to another (deceased) author’s classic novel. Perhaps one of the highest-quality attempts was actually a prequel: Jean Rhys’ “Wide Sargasso Sea” novel that looked at the first wife of Mr. Rochester starting from long before he met Jane Eyre.

      I was actually quite satisfied with the ending of “Jane Eyre,” so you’re right that a sequel never really was needed. Not sure there are many novels that had a better few dozen closing pages than “Jane Eyre.”

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Hi Dave, I guess you’d know that I’d be most interested in a sequel to any of Jane Austen’s books, but only if done by Ms. Austen herself. There are many books out there that use the characters (especially the Darcys); the only one that had any sort of relevance was the one written by the great P.D.Jams.

    Liked by 2 people

    • That IS the key, Kat Lib — sequels to Jane Austen’s superb novels would be welcome only if Jane Austen herself had written them. So many publishers and writers have taken advantage of her posthumous fame; they really should try to create original stuff instead. “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies”? Sheesh…


      • Hey Dave, of course I meant the late, great P.D. James I also learned today that the singer Ronnie Gilbert died, she of The Weavers folk group. I have a great two disc CD set of her and Holly Near in concert together, sounding wonderful! Their voices mesh so well together, especially on the song by Woody Guthrie, “Pastures of Plenty.”

        Liked by 1 person

        • There are definitely some exceptions to my disdain for authors who write novels that “glom” onto the work of famous dead authors. I should have acknowledged that in my previous comment, Kat Lib. P.D. James wrote tons of original stuff, so doing one Jane Austen-related book when she (James) had already been famous for years is A-OK with me. πŸ™‚

          Very sad to hear about Ronnie Gilbert’s death. A great singer and humanitarian. I’m pretty sure I saw her perform once with Holly Near. It wasn’t a concert per se, but some political event they were a part of. It’s really magical when the voices of two or more singers blend so well. Gilbert and Near, The Weavers, Crosby Stills & Nash, The Seekers, etc.!


  20. I would really have loved for Twain to finish his “Huck Finn trilogy” with a follow-up novel to Huck Finn. The last sentence in that novel includes the phrase “But I got to light out for the territory ahead of the rest…” which implies that Huck is going west to Indian territory ahead of others moving West because he might have though about what exactly happened to the Indian nations out West and everything from the killing off of the buffalo to the discovery of gold. It would have made for a very exiting novel.

    Most teachers are now focusing on, or trying to focus on Harper Lee’s new novel, Go Set a Watchman, with grown up character Scout visiting her aging father Atticus Finch.

    I also would like to see a sequel to a Jane Austen novel to find out if married life is everything as good as she seems to imply with marriages as the ending to some stories, and if families are as whimsical as they seem initially.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Good one, Eric! It would indeed have been fascinating to see what happened with Huck. Given that Mark Twain lived another quarter century after the novel was published, one wonders why he didn’t write a follow-up book.

      Yes, Harper Lee’s sequel must definitely be on the minds of teachers as well as the general public.

      Great point about Jane Austen’s work! All those happy engagements — what happened afterward? Somehow, I would have higher hopes for Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth of “Persuasion” than for Emma Woodhouse and her hubby-to-be of “Emma”…


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