Wolfner :: Recommended Readings :: Behind the Eight Ball

Behind the Eight Ball

(August 19, 2005)

After reading two new books, both with the number eight in the title, I began to wonder how many books used the number eight and what it might mean. In numerology circles, eight is a number traditionally associated with career, money, and use of power. Some numerologists also consider it a cautionary number, a warning of potential trouble. Does this mean that something good is coming to the characters in the book? Or is there perhaps something that they should be concerned about? Let us find out in these books featuring the number eight in the title or as a major factor in the plot of the book. As always, you can order these titles by contacting your Reader Advisor. --Susan Higgins, Reader Advisor.

To order any of these titles, contact the library by email, mail or phone. You may also request these titles online through our OPAC. Happy Reading!

The Beginner's Book of Dreams by Elizabeth Benedict.
RC 28132.
The novel follows Esme Singer from age eight to eighteen as she deals with her mother's futile attempts at love, her father's endless promises that he will become rich and send for her, and her feelings that no matter what she does she will never get anything right. As she is forced to confront these dreams, Esme moves into adulthood.

Butterfield 8 by John O'Hara.
RC 44130.
Inspired by a New York murder case and set in Manhattan at the time of Prohibition, this novel revolves around the sensational lives of the seedy characters who inhabit the speakeasies and underground clubs of New York's upper East Side. Principal among the cast is Gloria Wandrous, who is on a doomed quest for love. Some strong language.

The Eight by Katherine Neville.
RC 31050.
Two women share an adventure spanning three continents and two centuries. Catherine Velis, a computer expert, is sent to Algeria and becomes involved in the search for a jeweled chess set that holds the key to great power. Her story alternates with that of Mireille de Remy, a novice at the Montglane Abbey in the revolution torn France of 1790, who helped hide the chess pieces for safe keeping. Some strong language and some descriptions of sex.

Eight Black Horses by Ed McBain.
RC 23671.
The criminal mastermind, the Deaf Man, returns to create mayhem and murder for the policemen of the 87th precinct. This time he sends the precinct cryptic warnings to coincide with the twelve days of Christmas. 87 th Precinct, Book 38. Series Code 87P. Violence, strong language, and some descriptions of sex.

The Eight Corners of the World by Gordon Weaver.
RC 29925.
A comic history of Japan and Japanese-American relations from the 1920s to 1945 and beyond as seen through the eyes of a Japanese narrator. The book is divided into four sections, and the narrator assumes a different identity in each section. He is an interpreter, a scholar, a lieutenant, and finally a photographer. Some strong language and some descriptions of sex.

Eight Stories by Dylan Thomas.
RC 44506, BR 10963.
Eight short stories by the noted Welsh writer and poet. Includes: The End of the River, The School for Witches, The Peaches, Just Like Little Dogs, Old Garbo, One Warm Saturday, Plenty of Furniture, and The Followers.

From a Buick 8 by Stephen King.
RC 54687, BR 14266.
It looked like an ordinary eight cylinder 1954 Buick Roadmaster abandoned at a Pennsylvania gas station. But within hours, an investigating policeman has inexplicably vanished. Hoping to keep things quiet, the troopers put the car under lock and key. But it has a malevolent life of its own. Strong language and some violence.

Girl in Hyacinth Blue by Susan Vreeland.
RC 49678.
Eight vignettes follow the various owners of a Vermeer painting through the centuries. The book begins with the latest owner, whose German father obtained it illegally from a deported Jewish family, and goes back to the artist, who could not support his eleven children. Some descriptions of sex and some violence.

The Group by Mary McCarthy.
RC 50691.
Relates the lives of eight Vassar College friends. Beginning with Kay Strong's wedding in 1933, one week after commencement, to her funeral seven years later. Describes the young women's transitions from college living to the practicalities of sex, marriage, motherhood, and careers. Some descriptions of sex and some strong language.

Hard Eight by Janet Evanovich.
RC 54331.
Gone missing are the daughter and granddaughter of a next door neighbor of Stephanie Plum's parents in Trenton, New Jersey. Several characters join bail bondsman Stephanie's search for the pair: her friend Ranger; her former fiancé, Joe Morelli; and the daughter's ex-husband and landlord. Stephanie Plum, Book 8. Series Code PLS. Strong language and some violence.

Island by Thomas Perry.
RC 27579.
The amusing story of a wily husband and wife team who flee with stolen mob money and join forces with a smuggler and an unemployed mercenary to create a Caribbean island haven for tax evaders, gamblers, rich pleasure seekers, and lowlifes. Their utopia prospers for eight years, until aggressive big businesses, invading political organizations, suspicious CIA agents, evil bankers, and some shipwrecked Haitian refugees threaten its survival.

1988 by Richard Lamm and Arnold Grossman.
RC 24471.
In 1988, folks are fed up with the two major parties, and former Texas governor Stephen Wendell's independent presidential candidacy looks like a winner. Especially after media whiz Jerry Bloom signs onto the campaign to the tune of a million dollars, turning politics into show business. Some strong language and some descriptions of sex.

North Dallas Forty by Peter Gent.
RC 32552.
Gent, a former professional football player, covers eight days in the life of Phillip Elliott and other members of the North Dallas football team. In spite of Elliott's addiction to drugs and alcohol and his involvement with two women, he plays a brilliant game. But his team loses and Elliot finds himself unconditionally suspended. Strong language and descriptions of sex.

Runway Zero-Eight by Arthur Hailey and John Castle.
RC 59882.
A former World War 2 fighter pilot is asked to take over the controls of a modern airliner in flight from Winnipeg to Vancouver when the pilot, crew, and passengers are suddenly stricken by food poisoning.

The Seven Dials Mystery by Agatha Christie.
RC 13288.
Fellow guests at a house party hide eight alarm clocks under the bed of Gerry Wade, a notoriously late sleeper. The next day at noon, seven clocks are found lined up on the mantel and Gerry is discovered dead in bed. A Superintendent Battle Mystery. Series Code BATL.

Sight Unseen by Dan Gilroy.
RC 31219.
Matthew Clarke, an engineer with the National Security Agency, sees a suspicious smudge in an aerial photograph of the California coastline. He and his buddy, Dave, dive to investigate, and discover a Soviet submarine with the skeletons of eight American seamen floating in it. But someone does not want the secret of the submarine exposed. Strong language and descriptions of sex.

Symposium by Muriel Spark.
RC 34997.
Hurley Reed and Chris Donovan, who are comfortably unmarried, have invited eight guests for dinner. The meal is carefully planned and the guests carefully chosen, including newlyweds William and Margaret Damien. William's mother Hilda has been invited, but she, unbeknownst to the guests, will not make the party. The real mystery here is not who has killed Hilda, but just who is Margaret Damien!

Tell No One by Harlan Coben.
RC 52602.
New York City pediatrician David Beck's wife and lifelong sweetheart, Elizabeth, was tragically murdered eight years ago by a serial killer. Or so he thought. But the young doctor suddenly begins receiving mysterious e-mails containing information only Elizabeth would know. Some violence and some strong language.

Thursdays at Eight by Debbie Macomber.
RC 54737.
Four women friends from a writing class meet weekly for breakfast and companionship. Despite their age differences Clare, Liz, Karen, and Julia find support and solace during difficult times that include divorce, death, career decisions, and motherhood.

When Eight Bells Toll by Alistair MacLean.
RC 28725.
High adventure off the coast of Scotland involving a British secret service agent and a gang of clever hijackers. A story of sailing and suspense heightened by the ambiguity of characters' motives.

Winter Thunder by Mari Sandoz.
RC 13453, BR 3900.
The harrowing tale of a young schoolteacher and seven of her students stranded in a raging Nebraska blizzard for eight days with only normal winter clothing and the lunches with which they set out. Based on an experience of the author's niece.