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)