Happy Tuesday everyone! It is the second day of the week already but I hope everyone is doing well and is safe. Tuesdays also mean one thing, a Top Ten Tuesday update! Top Ten Tuesday is an original blog meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and is currently being hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.
This week’s given topic is Completed Series I Wish Had More Books
Unfortunately, I have not read that many series. I did start quite a lot but I have not completed several of them. Because of this, I have decided to instead feature standalone books I wished had sequels. These are books that either I enjoyed too much I wanted it to last longer or books that disappointed me with their ending but had a very promising premise. Without more ado, here is my list. Happy reading everyone!
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Another must-read book in the ambit of American literature, rather, of world literature is J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye. It is a literary classic that transcended time although when I obtained a copy of the book, I barely had an inkling of what it was or the impact it had on the general reading public. The coming-of-age novel introduces one of the most renowned literary characters, Holden Caulfield, a captivating character – enigmatic yet charismatic. He imbibes reality; it is a rarity to encounter a literary character this memorable and realistic. This book truly belongs to the highest orders of the literary world. However, I wish the book had a sequel. Holden was such a captivating character that I felt like one book was not enough to understand his complex character. I also wanted to learn what happened to him.
Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Another revered masterpiece of literature is Margaret Mitchell’s debut (and only) novel, Gone With the Wind. The winner of the prestigious Pulitzer Prize, it is easily one of the most recognized titles out there. In fact, a 2014 survey showed that the book lagged behind the Bible, making it the second most favorite book of American readers. Its influences transcend time. A behemoth of a historical novel, it relates the story of a young woman, Scarlett O’Hara, as she grows up in her home state of Georgia. Whilst Gone With the Wind is a story that was molded from the past, it is a story whose finer details reverberate towards the future. It is a novel that will forever be embedded in every reader’s mind. It was just unfortunate that this was her only novel. It does, unofficially, have a sequel but it would have been great to read about Scarlett’s growth as Mitchell envisioned it.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
And still, we have another literary classic. It has been over a decade since I read Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. It was actually my introduction to the world of English classics. While I did struggle at the start – it was the “classic-ness” – I soldiered on, and thankfully so for the story started to unravel just when I was at the point of giving up. Like the first two books on the list, what left a deep impression on me are the characters. Elizabeth Bennet, the novel’s protagonist, is easily one of the most popular literary characters out there. I did dislike her snobbish tendencies at first; the pride in the title then started to make sense. On the surface, the story seemed like a typical romance story but it also functioned as a social commentary. I would have loved a sequel to the book. Austen’s succeeding works were enthralling but there was something about Pride and Prejudice that makes it tower above English classics.
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
From one classic to another, the fourth book I wish had a sequel was Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca. The first time I encountered Rebecca I just knew I had to read it. It had some sort of a pull that I was drawn to. I was finally able to read it back in late 2019. A classic of Gothic fiction, the story was narrated by an anonymous woman who through social circles became acquainted with Maxim de Winter, a wealthy Englishman who owned the mammoth Manderley estate. “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.” Who was the titular Rebecca? That was part of the mystery that readers must unravel. Rebecca, with its haunting prose, easily made it to my all-time favorite reads. What was lamentable, however, was the dying curiosity about how the unnamed narrator led her life post-Manderley.
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
It was through the novel’s movie adaptation that I first heard of Kathryn Stockett’s The Help. The movie was a critical and commercial success, earning Viola Davis an Academy nomination for Best Actress. I did acquire a copy of the book back in 2017 but it was only in 2020 that I was able to read it. It was as good as advertised. Set in 1960s Jackson, Mississippi, the novel charted the stories of three main characters: Aibileen Clark, Minny Jackson, and Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan. On the surface, The Help was a witty and entertaining narrative about the help’s experience in an increasingly harsh environment that refuses to accept change. It did deal with heavy and sensitive subjects but beyond the horizon, hope for better future beacons. Change may take some time but tiny steps go a long way. It was for this alone that I wanted a follow-up story.
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
My first venture into Miller’s work was her sophomore novel, Circe. The novel left a deep impression on me that I resolved to read her debut novel, The Song of Achilles, overcoming the prejudices I had when I first encountered the novel. In her debut novel, Miller’s literary vision was palpable: to give voices to characters rarely heard from or who have been drowned by the din. One such character was Patroclus who was primarily known as Achilles’ right hand. Miller, recognizing the imbalance, wrote an inventive and imaginative narrative that enabled readers to see Patroclus as a character distinct from Achilles. The novel’s ending was unhappy, even for those who are not familiar with Greek mythology. It would be great if Miller again spins a story that will provide continuity to Patroclus’ voice.
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
It was curiosity that drove me towards the only novel that poetess Sylvia Plath has written over her career, The Bell Jar. I first learned of the unfortunate circumstances surrounding Plath’s personality before I started reading her novel. The Bell Jar was actually drawn from Plath’s experiences in college, with Esther Greenwood acting as her conduit. The novel vividly captured the feeling of being locked in a bell jar, at least mentally. I was given a glimpse of Plath’s mind and a piece of her story. In spite of its dark subject, the novel gave glimmers of hope. Mental health is a subject that is very dear to me, and perhaps that is the very reason why the novel plucked the proverbial strings of my heart. I also wished that the book had a sequel, to know about the fate of Esther.
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Here we have another literary classic. Like Gone with the Wind, Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird won her the Pulitzer Prize. To think that it was her debut novel and it was already a towering achievement. Following the book’s resounding success, Lee wouldn’t publish another major work until 2015 when Go Set A Watchman was released, to the general public’s overwhelming dismay. I can see why. It was a terrible “sequel”, a book that had tenuous connections to its successor. It was one of those books you’d wish stayed as a draft. Like many, I consider Go Set a Watchman a separate book. With this, I wish that To Kill A Mockingbird had a decent sequel, one that would provide continuity to the story of Scout Finch. It is interesting to know how she was able to cope after witnessing the cruel realities that (continue to) divide humanity.
Nip the Buds, Shoot the Kids by Kenzaburō Ōe
Objectively speaking, this one is a rather strange choice. Nobel Laureate in Literature and Japanese wordsmith Kenzaburō Ōe has established a daunting Iiterary resume. His prolific career kicked off with the publication of his debut novel, Nip the Buds, Shoot the Kids. He was just 23 years old then. Nip the Buds, Shoot the Kids was a compelling display of literary prowess that would define his writing career. In less than two hundred pages, he was able to deliver a masterful literary piece about a plethora of subjects such as fear, cowardice, dynamics of family relationships, and companionship among the outliers. Amidst all the furor was the blossoming of a young man. He himself had to witness various instances of cruelties but he only saw beauty where the others saw cruelty. It would be great to learn how the unnamed narrator grew up after all that he has witnessed. Will he still be as optimistic?
Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto
Among the female Japanese writers who established a name for themselves is Banana Yoshimoto. Prior to pursuing a career in writing, she worked as a waitress. It was during this time that she started working on what would be her first published work, Kitchin (キッチン). It was published in Japanese in 1988 to critical success. The novel charted the story of Mikage Sakurai, a young Japanese woman who has lost everyone dear to her. It was at the throes of her latest grief that her paths crossed with Yuichi Tanabe, a friend of Mikage’s recently departed grandmother. While the started with grief, it was hope that made up its emotional backbone. However, I feel like the story was too short. It had lots of potential and I wouldn’t mind if the story was longer or if it had a sequel.