Thursday, May 7, 2015


When we at Why Not Books were musing on the title of our beautifully illustrated (by award-winner Zachary Pullen) picture book about the sport-altering 1913 U.S. Open golf championship, we realized that this true story was even greater than the sum of its parts.

It wasn’t just about Francis Ouimet, the unknown amateur golfer who lived across from the Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts, taught himself how to play be sneaking onto the course, and qualified for the Open there against the world’s finest golfers. And it wasn’t just about Eddie Lowery, the four-foot-tall, 10-year-old kid who didn’t have a father at home, who idolized the 20-year-old Ouimet and offered to carry his bag. No, it was about the magical combination. Eddie calmed Francis down; Francis propped Eddie up. Together, they shocked the world in a story not about golf, but about hope, loyalty and a friendship that lasted half a century.

So we chose a title that conveyed the most compelling aspect of the story simply and succinctly: FRANCIS AND EDDIE.

And when it comes to books, we’re in heady company. Headier company. Some of literature’s finest masterpieces were couplings like ours—titles showing the power, if paired properly, of one simple word: And.

I’ve come up with a list of such titles—evocative pairings of two elements that are better together. My contrived rules mean that (with the exception of a Salinger classic) we aren’t including names as part of the title. So Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory didn’t make the cut. No Harry Potter tales either. So we reluctantly didn’t include another Why Not Books title (by 14-year-old fantasy-writing prodigy Luke Herzog)—GRIFFIN BLADE AND THE BRONZE FINGER.

And no threesomes, however repetitive and lyrical. Sorry, C.S. Lewis. You should have chosen two of three from the lion, the witch and the wardrobe. That also means that two excellent recent books aren’t on the list—Love and Shame and Love by Peter Orner and Mom & Me & Mom by Maya Angelou, who graciously wrote the foreword to MY MANTELPIECE, the memoir of civil rights icon Carolyn Goodman, published by (yup) Why Not Books.

 But still, it’s an impressive collection—literature’s classic combinations:

1. Romeo and Juliet (William Shakespeare)
2. War and Peace (Leo Tolstoy)
3. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
4. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
5. The Old Man and the Sea (Ernest Hemingway)

6. Of Mice and Men (John Steinbeck)
7. The Sound and the Fury (William Faulkner)
8. Franny and Zooey (J.D. Salinger)
9. Of Time and the River (Thomas Wolfe)
10. The Beautiful and the Damned (F. Scott Fitzgerald)
11. The Naked and the Dead (Norman Mailer)
12. The Best and the Brightest (David Halberstam)
13. Cabbages and Kings (O. Henry)
14. The Prince and the Pauper (Mark Twain)

15. Shadow and Act (Ralph Ellison)
16. The City and the Stars (Arthur C. Clarke)
17. Sons and Lovers (D.H. Lawrence)
18. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)
19. Sapphira and the Slave Girl (Willa Cather)
20. The Moon and Sixpence (W. Somerset Maugham)
21. The Haunted Man and the Ghost’s Bargain (Charles Dickens)
22. The Brigadier and the Golf Widow (John Cheever)
23. The Quick and the Dead (Louis L’Amour)

24. Robots and Empires (Isaac Asimov)
25. The Town and the City (Jack Kerouac)
26. The Eagle and the Raven (James Michener)
27. The Ball and the Cross (G.K. Chesterton)
28. The Widow and the Parrot (Virginia Woolf)
29. Ape and Essence (Aldous Huxley)
30. The Genius and the Goddess (Aldous Huxley)
31. The Power and the Glory (Graham Greene)
32. War and Remembrance (Herman Wouk)

33. The Captain and the Enemy (Graham Greene)
34. The City and the Pillar (Gore Vidal)
35. Clouds and Eclipses (Gore Vidal)
36. The Georges and the Jewels (Jane Smiley)
37. Fame and Obscurity (Gay Talese)
38. The Ghost and the Darkness (William Goldman)
39. ‘Twixt Land and Sea (Joseph Conrad)
40. Big Mouth & Ugly Girl (Joyce Carol Oates)

And of course…

41. Green Eggs and Ham (Dr. Seuss)

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