July 17th is a day to dream of luxury and to test your luck. Why? Because it’s National Lottery Day! The concept of the lottery has been around since ancient times, but this practice did not become mainstream until the late 15th century in Europe. In 1612, King James I established a lottery in order to fund the first permanent British settlement in Virginia. Since then, lotteries have been used to raise money for wars, towns, colleges, community projects, and more!
The lottery lies at the very core of United States history, and it remains popular even today. On January 13, 2016, the Powerball jackpot of $1.586 billion became the largest jackpot ever. Three lucky winners took home over $500 million each! The draw to this amount of money is enormous. On average, Americans spend $70.1 billion on lottery tickets every year.
Unfortunately, the odds of actually winning this fortune is 350 billion to one. If you’re feeling unlucky today, don’t fret. There are still ways to celebrate National Lottery Day without spending money on a ticket- by reading! Here are five fictional book recommendations about winning the lottery.
Lottery by Patricia Wood
With an IQ of 76, 31-year-old Perry Crandall is often mistaken as stupid. But he knows he’s not. Perry’s grandmother taught him everything he needed to know, like writing things down so he doesn’t forget, studying the dictionary to learn new words, and buying a lottery ticket every week. Most importantly, she reassures her “lucky boy” that there is nothing wrong with being a little slow.
After Perry’s grandmother dies, he is left alone to be teased, ignored, and shunned. However, when one of Perry’s weekly lottery tickets turns out to hold a $12 million jackpot, his world changes overnight. But this fortune, combined with Perry’s generous spirit, comes with certain disadvantages. Playing on Perry’s trust and goodwill, his estranged family and friends plan to swindle him out of every last dime.
Patricia Wood’s debut novel asks important questions about wealth and generosity. Who can Perry trust? And will money change how he sees the world?
Malibu Motel by Chaunceton Bird
Based on the true story of a lottery winner, Malibu Motel illustrates the pitfalls of capitalism, privilege, and greed. After winning the California State Lottery of over $124 million, Caish Calloway immediately jumps into a life of wealth. Caish buys a house in Malibu, drives numerous luxury cars, and gets a taste for lavish parties, drugs, and rock-and-roll.
At one party, Caish and friends meet a woman who invites them to invest in a hedge fund business. With this exceptional wealth, and after a series of bad choices, Caish begins to realize everything that money can ruin: love, your health, and your life.
Even more interesting? There’s a twist to this story. Chaunceton Bird never gives Caish an identity. Readers are left unsure of Caish’s gender, age, or race, allowing them to paste themselves onto Caish’s foolish financial choices. Yes, luxurious items cost a fortune. But does greed cost more?
Lucky You by Carl Hiaasen
JoLayne Lucks loves everything about her humble life. She loves her job as a vet’s assistant, her tiny Floridian hometown in Grange, and Florida’s natural environment. That’s why, when she wins a divided lottery ticket worth $14 million, hardly anyone knows that this fortune fell into her hands. Secretly, she plans to buy a local wilderness area in order to protect the wild animals living there.
Her plans for secrecy fail when newspaper reporter Tom Krome gets his hands on the story. Soon, everyone seems to be gossiping about JoLayne’s new wealth, including Bodean Gazzer and his friend Chub. Bodean and Chub, members of the white supremacist group in Grange, won the other half of the winning ticket. Figuring that JoLayne, being black, doesn’t deserve her ticket, they steal it from her.
In this witty and humorous novel, JoLayne and Tom attempt to get the ticket back while simultaneously fighting against the town’s racist views. What happens when money falls into the wrong hands? Find out in Carl Hiaasen’s Lucky You!
The Rich Part of Life by Jim Kokoris
Eleven-year-old Teddy Pappas already feels like a grown-up. After his mother died in a tragic car accident, Teddy became one of the primary caretakers for his younger brother. It’s not like his father, an eccentric Civil War historian, was going to step up and care for them. But a year after his mother’s death, when his father decides to play his wife’s favorite lottery numbers to remember her, a $190 million winning ticket falls into the Pappas family’s hands.
With their new fortune, estranged family and friends begin to demand their attention. Teddy’s aunt and uncle enter the picture, along with a recent divorcee, a former soap opera star, and a stranger who threatens the family’s life and legacy. When events spiral out of control, Teddy and his family must discover what “the rich part of life” really is.
Throughout Jim Kokoris’ first novel, The Rich Part of Life, asks questions about father-child bonds and how to handle unexpected wealth. Will money bring the family together again? Or will it tear them apart?
Blue Ticket by Sophie Mackintosh
In Calla’s world, a woman’s fate is determined by a lottery. When young girls reach puberty, they are forced to attend a ceremony where they receive either a white or blue ticket. White tickets are a sign of motherhood, and those who pull a white ticket are required to be fruitful and bear many children. On the other hand, blue tickets stand for professionalism. Young girls who draw blue tickets are forced to undergo a birth control procedure before entering a career-centered life.
When Calla draws a blue ticket, she’s relieved. Her ticket promises a life of independence and fulfillment. But 18 years later, after indulging in parties, drinking, and random hookups, Calla wants a change. She removes her birth control implant and tries to become pregnant.
Sophie Mackintosh’s Blue Ticket is a striking dystopian novel about the importance of choice, femininity, and maternity. Can Calla fight back against the society that insists she choose between motherhood and her career? And can she empower other women to do the same?
Happy National Lottery Day! To celebrate, we hope you decide to take a gamble on these five lucky books. If you’re interested in more lottery-inspired reads, check out this analysis of Shirley Jackson’s famous short story!