The Resurrection Game

If you could get one author, dead or alive, to write one more book, who would it be?

This intriguing question, asked by an audience member at the ALA panel I moderated in Chicago, got answers of Jane Austen from Charlaine Harris, Charles Bukowski from Charlie Huston, and Gene-Stratton Porter from Marjorie Liu. Since then, I’ve been asking the question of others, and have found no end of entertainment in their answers.jane-austen-grave

The question would also make a great book group theme, providing each reader a chance to revisit a favorite author and reveal their choice to the group. I love themes that help the members of a group get to know each other better.

For my own entertainment, I’ll keep asking this question to co-workers. They’ve told me about their passions for Dorothy Dunnett, Thomas Mann, Raymond Chandler, and J.R.R. Tolkien among others. Here are a few of their more unusual answers:

“I’d want to bring back Ernest Hemingway – although I’d settle for finding the manuscript his wife left on the Paris subway.”

“William Shakespeare – so he could write for the movies like all the movie writers insist he would, and maybe put some of them back in advertising where they belong.”

“Let’s give Miss Goody Two Shoes Jane Austen a chance to write in the aftermath of the Holocaust, two world wars, global warming, overcrowding, genocide, class warfare, irreversible pollution, and nuclear weapons. I’m not asking for zombies or sea serpents, Jane, just something with a little more depth. Or, if we’re picking someone I actually like: I’d like to see what Mark Twain would make of the twenty-first century. Maybe he could bring perspective to the wars, pollution, etc., I just mentioned.”

“V.C. Andrews. Oh wait, I’m getting it backwards: That’s a dead author I wish would stop writing new books.”

“The person or persons who wrote Beowulf. People back then knew
how to tell a story. Or I could take the authors of the Mabinogion for the same reason, and also because I just read an article the other day about a professor who thinks the Mabinogion may have been written by a woman. How cool would that be?”

I’d love to hear your answers too… What writer would you bring back for one more book?



About the Author:

Neil Hollands is an Adult Services Librarian at Williamsburg Regional Library in Virginia, where he specializes in readers’ advisory and collection development. He is the author of Read On . . . Fantasy Fiction (2007) and Fellowship in a Ring: a Guide for Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Groups (2009).

23 Comments on "The Resurrection Game"

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  1.' Keir says:

    Great question. I think I’ll answer John Kennedy Toole. He isn’t my favorite writer of all time, but the guy sure deserved another chance. Or at least to know that his work was read. Of course, being resurrected and finding himself famous, he might have one hell of a sophomore slump–but I’d be willing to take that chance.

    Love the V. C. Andrews bit.

  2.' Kaite Stover says:

    I think I know who said V.C. Andrews and who said Jane and zombies. 🙂

  3.' Brian says:

    Steinbeck. I’d love a Grapes of Wrath for the 21st century …

  4.' Ginger Mann says:

    great question! so glad you asked!
    my 1st choice is Patrick O’Brian to finish the Aubrey / Maturin series – and, of course, Harper Lee.

  5.' William Blohm says:

    If I may vote for two authors I would like to see additional novels by Dashiell Hammett and F. Scott Fitzgerald, especially if the latter’s was written as well as The Great Gatsby

  6.' Amanda Blau says:

    I know she hasn’t been gone long, but I’ve been sad knowing there’ll be no more Madeleine L’Engle books. She created characters I considered family as a child.

  7.' Ellen Welty says:

    How about illustrators – Trina Schart Hyman and Janet Ahlberg both had careers that were cut short by untimely death and both of them created magical work in children’s literature.
    Louis Bromfield would be my first choice of an author whom I’d like to resurrect.

  8.' Rebecca says:

    Love the V.C Andrews quote. Back in the day, when they kept pushing her pub date back, I commented that her family was having trouble channeling her to finish the book. As for who I’d love to see more from…well, several people, but I’ll start with Edgar Allan Poe.

  9.' Eileen Frost says:

    Dorothy Sayers — how selfish of her to die!

  10.' Susan says:

    William Styron. I love everthing by him.

  11.' Janet Fricker says:

    Margaret Mitchell – does Rhett really not give a damn?

  12.' Laura Coleman says:

    One last book by J.D. Salinger describing his years at the hermitage or catching us up with the Glass grandchildren.

  13.' Megan says:

    I have to second (or third?) Harper Lee!

  14.' Mindy Fiala says:

    Stieg Larson

  15.' Beth says:

    Edith Wharton, please. She’s more relevant than ever, today.

  16.' Julie says:

    James Michener

  17.' marcia says:

    Did i miss something? When did Harper Lee die?

  18.' marcia says:

    Whoops, went back and read “dead OR alive”…carry on…With that new knowledge…I vote for Ms. Lee also!

  19. Laurie Colwin. And I’d echo many of the above. I’m still holding out for a whole slew of Glass family stories to appear after Salinger dies.

  20.' Rich says:

    Umm, Harper Lee is actually still alive, but it is a mystery (and our loss) why she’s never published any more. Maybe I’ll vote for Mark Twain. He would go to town with our times.

  21.' PJ Cadden says:

    John Kennedy Toole, author of A Confederacy of Dunces. May as well resurrect John Belushi to play Ignatius.

  22.' JHalsall says:

    A.A. Milne – I would adore another book of the coninuing adventures of Christooher and Pooh.

  23.' Kaite Stover says:

    Trina Schart Hyman—yes.

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