Monday, August 31, 2015


When my son Luke started reading in earnest—that is, when he found that he had made his way through enough contemporary fantasy novels to fill the libraries of Rivendell and Hogwarts—I began to suggest some older classics.

He had already read the three books in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, including The Two Towers, which was his favorite one. How about Jules Verne, I said. Around the World in Eighty Days or Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. Then I got him hooked on Sherlock Holmes, starting with Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Sign of Four. For good measure, I led him to Agatha Christie’s classic And Then There Were None.

See a pattern? We at the Why Not100 obviously treasure the written word, but there sure are a lot of classics with numbers in the title, whether it’s 1984, Seven Years in Tibet, or North Dallas Forty. Hence, the following list.

Only once, as you’ll see, do we reference Janet Evanovich, who has written twenty numbered Stephanie Plum mysteries—from One for the Money, Two for the Dough, and Three to Get Deadly to Explosive Eighteen, Notorious Nineteen, and Takedown Twenty.

You may also notice, when you get to number 50, that a certain erotic novel didn’t make the cut.

1. One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest (Ken Kesey)
2. A Tale of Two Cities (Charles Dickens)
3. The Three Musketeers (Alexandre Dumas)
4. The Sign of the Four (Arthur Conan Doyle)

5. High Five (Janet Evanovich)
6. Six Years (Harlan Coben)
7. Seven Years in Tibet (Heinrich Harrer)
8. The Eight (Katherine Neville)
9. Nine Lives to Die (Rita Mae Brown)
10. Ten Little Ladybugs (Melanie Gerth)
11. Eleven Birthdays (Wendy Mass)
12. Twelve Years a Slave (Solomon Northup)
13. Thirteen Reasons Why (Jay Asher) 
14. Fourteen (Peter Clines)
15. Fifteen Minutes (Karen Kingsbury)
16. Sixteen Cows (Lisa Wheeler)
17. At Seventeen (Gerri Hill)
18. Eighteen Summers (Jessie M)
19. Nineteen Minutes (Jodi Picoult)
20. Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (Jules Verne)
21. The Twenty-One Balloons (William Pene du Bois)
22. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
23. Twenty-Three Tales (Leo Tolstoy)
24. The Twenty-Four Days Before Christmas (Madeleine L’Engle)
25. Twenty-Five (Rachel L. Hamm)
26. Twenty-Six Roses (Tamara Vann)
27. Twenty-Seven Bones (Jonathan Nasaw)
28. Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes (Denise Grover Swank)
29. The Rabbi and the Twenty-Nine Witches (Marilyn Hirsh)
30. Thirty Seconds (Heather MacPherson)
31. Thirty-One Dates in Thirty-One Days (Tamara Duricka Johnson)
32. Thirty-Two Going on Spinster (Becky Monson)
33. Thirty-Three Teeth (Colin Cotterill)
34. The 34th Degree (Thomas Greanias)
35. Stranger on Route Thirty-Five (Leslie Sansom)
36. Thirty-Six Hours (Allison Brennan)
37. Thirty-Seven (Maria Beaumont)
38. Thirty-Eight Nooses (Scott W. Berg)
39. The Thirty-Nine Steps (John Buchan)
40. North Dallas Forty (Peter Gent)
41. Forty-One Jane Doe’s (Carrie Olivia Adams)
42. Forty-Two (M. Thomas Cooper)
43. Forty-Three Septembers (Jewelle Gomez)
44. Forty-Four (Jools Sinclair)
45. Forty-Five (Bill Drummond)
46. Forty-Six Pages (Scott Liell)
47. Forty-Seven Kisses (Victoria Grant)
48. Forty-Eight X (Barry Pollack)
49. The Crying of Lot 49 (Thomas Pynchon)
50. The Fifty Year Sword (Mark Z. Danielewski)
51. Fifty-One Tales (Edward J.M.D. Plunkett)
52. Fifty-Two Pickup (Elmore Leonard)
53. Fifty Three (Rosanita Ratcliff)
54. Fifty-Four (Wu Ming)
55. Fifty-Five Graves (Robert P. Maroney)
56. Fifty-Six Men (Fred Placke)
57. The Fifty-Seven Lives of Alex Wayfare (M.G. Buehrlen)
58. The Folks at Fifty-Eight (Michael Patrick Clark)
59. Fifty-Nine in ’84 (Edward Achorn)
60. The House of Sixty Fathers (Meindert DeJong)
61. Highway 61 (William McKeen)
62. Highway 62 Revisited (Matt Maxwell)
63. 11/22/63 (Stephen King)
64. The Sixty-Four Sonnets (John Keats)
65. The Sixty-Five Years of Washington (Juan Jose Saer)
66. Sixty-Six Chances (Nick Buxton)
67. Sixty-Seven Poems for Downtrodden Saints (Jack Micheline)
68. The Sixty-Eight Rooms (Marianne Malone)
69. Sixty-Nine Inches and Rising (Rebecca Steinbeck)
70. The Book of Seventy (Alicia Suskin Ostriker)
71. Seventy-One Days: The Media Assault on Obama (Michael Jason Overstreet)
72. Seventy-Two Hour Hold (Bebe Moore Campbell)
73. Seventy-Three Poems (e.e. cummings)
74. Seventy-Four Seaside Avenue (Debbie Macomber)
75. Seventy-Five Pretzels: A New York Tale (Michael Marzi)
      76. Seventy-Six Days on Mars (Michael Redman)
77. Seventy-Seven Shadow Street (Dean Koontz)
78. Seventy-Eight Days (Ciara Howard)
79. Seventy-Nine Park Avenue (Harold Robbins)
80. Around the World in Eighty Days (Jules Verne)
81. Eighty-One Miles: Best Loved Poems (Shane Windham)
82. Eighty-Two Desire (Julie Smith)
83. Eighty-Three Lost Sheep (Gerry Stoltzfoos and Shawn Smucker)
84. 1984 (George Orwell)
85. Eighty-Five Days: The Last Campaign of Robert Kennedy (Jules Witcover)
86. 86’d (Dan Fante)
87. The Ghosts on 87th Lane (M.L. Woelm)
88. Eighty-Eight (A.L. McAuley)
89. Eighty-Nine Pounds (Lauren Groff)
90. The  Ninety and Nine (Vinny DiGirolamo)
91. Ninety-One Days (Lindsay Luterman)
92. Ninety-Two in the Shade (Thomas McGuane)
93. Ninety-Three (Victor Hugo)
94. Ninety-Four Maidens (Rhonda Fink-Whitman)
95. Ninety-Five Theses (Martin Luther)
96. The 96th Annual Apple Valley Barn Dance (Jason F. Wright)

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