by Emily Temple
1The Road by Cormac McCarthy
McCarthy’s bleak post-apocalyptic trek never answers the question that tugged at us the entire time — what happened to the world? Though we’re not sure we really want to know, we think a book about the slow destruction of the world written by McCarthy would be terrible and harrowing and perfect.
2The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
We hear Gatsby’s origin story — more or less — in the novel, but now that we’re over the reveal, we’d definitely read an entire book about it. All that bootlegging, class struggle, and forbidden romance is sure to make for a rip-roaring novel.
3The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Most characters Holden Caulfield’s age don’t need an origin story (they are the origin story), but with this fellow we still have questions we want answered. Maybe it’s just the story of that elusive and departed Allie Caulfield, whose story, not to mention his thoughts, might shine some deliciously satisfying light on his elder brother. Plus, it’d be a tragedy, and we love those.
4One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
Randle Patrick McMurphy is a hero (or anti-hero, jury’s still out) for the ages, and we’ve always felt that we didn’t get enough of him trapped in that mental institution. We’d love a novel spanning a few years of McMurphy free in the wild world, getting into more kinds of trouble than we can even imagine.
5Moby-Dick by Herman Melville
Come on, don’t you want to know what happened to little Ahab to make him such a crazed megalomaniac? There’s the leg and all, sure, but how was his relationship with his father? Just wondering.
6Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray
Thackeray’s novel begins at the end of Becky Sharp and Amelia Sedley’s tenure at Miss Pinkerton’s Academy for Young Ladies — huge mistake, as far as we’re concerned. We love the idea of Becky at a tough academy for girls, sneaking about and engaging in social warfare. After all, she clearly picked up all those dubious social skills somewhere…
7The Giver by Lois Lowry
We would kill to read the story of the first Giver, the one who was there at the moment when the world decided it couldn’t bear its own knowledge and feelings any longer and had to pile them into one person alone. Now that’s some serious angst.
8A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle
You know you want to see what Sherlock Holmes was like in high school. We’re imagining it kind of like Gossip Girl, but with better pranks and even wittier repartee.
9No Country For Old Men by Cormac McCarthy
Again with the origin stories (and again with McCarthy), we know, but we’d be fascinated to read about what the sociopathic Anton Chigurh was like as a younger man — where did his brutal, strange code and near complete lack of empathy come from? Has he ever been in love? These are questions worth exploring.
10Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Though Huxley plunges us into the future, we’d be interested in a prequel somewhere between here and there — if only so we can know what to look out for. Plus, we think such an unstable, transitional world might make for a lot of drama.
What books would you add to this list?