11 Popular Books You Didn’t Realise Had Sequels
Way back in July of this year came Harper Lee’s sequel to her best-selling and critically acclaimed debut novel, To Kill a Mockingbird (1960). The much-anticipated Go Set a Watchman received probably more than its fair share of publicity in the run up to its release. With the instant success of its Pulitzer-Prize winning predecessor, the pressure was on the elderly Miss Lee to impress fans.
Four months after publication, opinions are still largely mixed on the sequel. It’s yet to be seen whether Go Set a Watchman will stand the test of time, or fade into literary obscurity, written off as a warning to less experienced novelists of why sometimes it’s best to quit whilst you’re ahead.
It wouldn’t be the first time it’s happened. To prove it, here are 11 best-selling books that have almost unheard-of sequels:
1. The Hundred and One Dalmatians (1956) by Dodie Smith
So it turns out Dodie Smith’s follow-up to The Hundred and One Dalmatians isn’t actually all that similar to Disney’s 102 Dalmatians. Hers is called The Starlight Barking, was published in 1967, and features a part-alien, part-dog thing called Sirius who persuades the Dalmatians to ditch Earth and go to live with him on the Dog Star. There’s no Cruella de Vil, either.
2. Paradise Lost (1667) by John Milton
Yes indeed, John Milton’s 17th century epic poem has a sequel, and it’s called – wait for it – Paradise Regained (1671). Anybody who’s actually struggled through all ten books of Paradise Lost will probably agree that this one should’ve stayed on the slush pile.
3. Trainspotting (1993) by Irvine Welsh
The sequel, entitled Porno (2002), to Irvine Welsh’s unique report of drugged up, punk rock ’80s Scotland takes place ten years later, when the same characters are thrust together again in the world of adult filmmaking.
4. Catch-22 (1961) by Joseph Heller
Catch-22 is a regular feature on newspaper compilations of the best books ever published. Unfortunately, Closing Time (1994) didn’t fare as well with critics or readers.
5. The Jungle Book (1894) by Rudyard Kipling
Oh, Disney. Can’t you do anything right? The Second Jungle Book (1895) might not win any prizes for the originality of its name, but it’s sure to beat whatever the heck The Jungle Book 2 was all about.
6. Les Miserables (1980) by Victor Hugo
Can you hear the people sing? Lovers of Les Mis should know that Hugo co-wrote and published Cosette in 1995. No prizes for correctly guessing which main character of the original takes the lead in this one.
7. The Shining (1977) by Stephen King
Doctor Sleep is master-of-horror Stephen King’s follow up to the cult classic, and has enjoyed good reviews since being published in 2013.
8. Holes (1998) by Louis Sachar
The dysfunctional Armpit takes centre stage in Small Steps (2006), set just two years after Holes.
9. The Notebook (1996) by Nicholas Sparks
Did anybody even know this was a book? There’s no Allie and Noah to cry at in The Wedding (2003), but there is their now grown-up daughter, so we’d still recommend keeping a hefty box of tissues nearby.
Or you could just stick the film on again because, you know, Ryan Gosling.
10. Little Women (1880) by Louisa May Alcott
One of the most timeless novels of the 19th century, most people don’t know that Little Women is actually part of a whole series. Little Men (1871) and Jo’s Boys (1886) never enjoyed the same commercial success.
11. Psycho (1959) by Robert Bloch
Psycho II (1982) features creepy Norman Bates dressed as a nun and a whole load of Hollywood murders. Another one that probably should’ve stayed a twinkle in the author’s eye.