Wednesday, October 14, 2015


National Book Award-winner Maya Angelou once wrote, “Be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud.” About a century earlier, Oscar Wilde declared, “Mere color, unspoiled by meaning and unallied with definite form, can speak to the soul in a thousand different ways.”

Color can turn a setting into a sonnet. Just consider Jack Kerouac’s description of a sunset: “Soon it got dusk, a grapy dusk, a purple dusk over tangerine groves and long melon fields; the sun the color of pressed grapes, slashed with burgundy red, the fields the color of love and Spanish mysteries.”

So while Georgia O’Keeffe one contended that she could “say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way… things I had no words for,” we at the Why Not 100 think color is as integral to a good book as it is to a good painting.

Here we offer a multi-hued menagerie of colorful book titles. And we’re not going to repeat a color (sorry Harold and the Purple Crayon and The Green Mile and The Bluest Eye, not to mention The Red Pony, The Red Tent, Where the Red Fern Grows, and The Hunt for Red October).

The sheer variety of color names out there is remarkable. Huckleberry? Chocolate? Mango? Cornflower? But out of respect for literature, we refuse to list Fifty Shades of Grey. On the other hand, out of self-respect, we did include a recent Why Not Books title at the very end:

1. The Color Purple (Alice Walker)
2. The Scarlet Letter (Nathaniel Hawthorne)
3. The Red Badge of Courage (Stephen Crane)
4. A Clockwork Orange (Anthony Burgess)
5. Green Eggs and Ham (Dr. Seuss)
6. Blue Highways (William Least Heat-Moon)

7. Black Beauty (Anna Sewell)
8. White Fang (Jack London)
9. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Mark Twain)
10. Crome Yellow (Aldous Huxley)
11. James and the Giant Peach (Roald Dahl)
12. The Lilac Bus (Maeve Binchy)

13. The Picture of Dorian Gray (Oscar Wilde)
14. The Man in the Brown Suit (Agatha Christie)
15. Mauve Gloves & Madmen, Clutter & Vine (Tom Wolfe)
16. Plum Lucky (Janet Evanovich)
17. The Crimson Petal and the White (Michael Faber)
18. Indigo Slam (Robert Crais)
19. Ruby (V.C. Andrews)
20. The Fuchsia is Now (J. Otto Seibold)
21. Rose in Bloom (Louisa May Alcott)
22. Magenta Rave (Janna Zonder)
23. Violet Eyes (Nicole Luiken)
24. The Chartreuse Clue (William F. Love)

25. Amber and Ashes (Margaret Weis)
26. Olive, the Other Reindeer (Vivian Walsh)
27. Oscar and the Lady in Pink (Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt)
28. Running from Beige (Terri Marie)
29. The Opposite of Chocolate (Julie Bertagna)
30. The Ginger Man (J.P. Donleavy)
31. The Girl With the Jade Green Eyes (John Boyd)
32. Girl in Hyacinth Blue (Susan Vreeland)
33. The Turquoise Ledge (Leslie Marmon Silko)
34. Tangerine (Edward Bloor)
35. Burnt Sienna (David Morrell)

36. The Lime Twig (John Hawkes)
37. The Red Lemon (Bob Staake)
38. Goldenrod: Dark of Night (Richard Lewis Grant)
39. Cerulean Sins (Laurell K. Hamilton)
40. Charcoal (J.E. Rowney)’
41. Khaki (Carol James Drolet)
42. Royal Blue (Kat Attalla)
43. Maroon (Barry Mason)
44. Azure (Chrystalla Thoma)
45. A Tan and Sandy Silence (John D. Macdonald)
46. Aquamarine (Alice Hoffman)
47. Lavender-Green Magic (Andre Norton)

48. Cornflower (Bekki Lynn)
49. Heritage from Cyan (Christopher Berry)
50. The Mystery of the Ivory Charm (Carolyn Keene)
51. The Coral Sea (Patti Smith)
52. Puce is Pretty (Linda Mackin)
53. Periwinkle of Pod (Richard Albright)
54. The Emerald Talisman (Brenda Pandos)
55. Chase of the Teal Tiger (Margaret Ernsberger)
56. The House on Mango Street (Sandra Cisneros)
57. A Basketful of Taupe (Kylie Irvine)
58. The Golden Compass (Philip Pullman)
59. The Silver Chair (C.S. Lewis)
60. Griffin Blade and the Bronze Finger (Luke Herzog)

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