Twenty Books about the Lottery
Lottery Themed Books
Much has been written about the lottery, and how to win it (far too many for just one article). And, honestly, those books are about as interesting to read as they are reliable. Far more interesting are those books that tell stories about winning the lottery, so we've assembled 20 top picks across multiple genres and authors.
A while back we took a detailed look at lottery themes in TV and movies, though the world of literary fiction has its fair share of lottery stories too. And why shouldn't it?
Every lottery winner story is incredible in and of itself, since the winners beat incredible odds to become extraordinarily rich. Equally fascinating are those stories of how regular people, from all walks of life, find their lives suddenly transformed by vast wealth. Some, to be fair, are stranger than fiction – so is it any wonder that fiction authors, when searching for inspiration, return to the lottery well time and time again – and have been doing so for centuries!
Book #1: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
Let's start with the story we covered already in our TV/movies article. It's a story we all know and love, of how one lucky boy called Charlie won a tour to visit the world's most magical chocolate factory, run by eccentric confectionary kingpin Willie Wonka. To win, Charlie needed to find one of only a handful of golden tickets hidden inside a Wonka bar – in other words, Willie Wonka ran a very special type of lottery.
Book #2: The Lottery Ticket by Anton Chekhov
Anton Chekhov is widely regarded as one of the greatest and most influential writers of all time. His works continue to be studied in excruciating detail by both dramatists and academics alike.
The lottery tells the story of Ivan Dmitritch and his wife who, midway through reading the day's winning lottery numbers come to believe they have won and begin fanaticising about all the things they would do with the money. In doing so, however, they begin to grow suspicious and resentful of each other, each not wanting the other to have so much money.
Finally Ivan finally glances down to realise that they don't have the final number right, and so both the animosity and excitement instantly fades, and they return to their settled, if somewhat humdrum existence.
Book #3: The Lottery Ticket by Jules Verne
The Lottery Ticket (also known as "Ticket No. 9672" to differentiate it from our previous entry) is a story by Jules Verne, the legendary author of 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea and Around The World In 80 Days. Hulda Hansen's husband to be is apparently lost at sea, but one day she gets a message in a bottle along with a lottery ticket – number 9672. News of the message spreads quickly and it seems like everybody is anticipating the results of the upcoming lottery draw.
Book #4: The Winner by David Baldacci
What would you do for $100 million? What would you be willing to sacrifice? In this tense thriller LuAnn Tyler, a young mother who lives in poverty in a trailer, is offered a winning lottery ticket on condition she leaves the US and never returns but, as you probably guessed, there's a catch…
Book #5: Lotto Lucy by Kathleen Irene Paterka
After winning $70 million Lucy Carter has much soul searching ahead of her. Things become complicated when her estranged mother, Lila, returns. Lila claims she's only looking out for her daughter's wellbeing, though Lucy is unconvinced and, though an uncanny set of circumstances, both mother and daughter are forced to cohabitate.
Book #6: The Rich Part of Life by Jim Kokoris
A bittersweet and often humorous look at the transformative power of a lottery win as told by 11-year-old Teddy Pappas. When Teddy's mother is killed in a car crash he and his young brother go to live with their estranged and emotionally distant father who ends up winning $190 million playing his late wife's lottery numbers.
Book #7: Lottery by Patricia Wood
Perry Crandall is a young man of lesser than average intelligence raised by his grandmother. Perry is left alone when she dies but continues to play the lottery, as she always done, winning $12 million in the process. Suddenly Perry's life is full of people who all seem to know what's best for him, but do they?
Book #8: Lottery by Kimberly Shursen
With a perfect house, a beautiful wife and two young children Caleb O'Toole appears to be the luckiest man on earth. When he wins the lottery it seems that his luck knows no bounds, but Caleb has a dark secret and will do anything, including commit murder, to keep it a secret.
Book #9: Lucky You by Carl Hiaasen
Lucky by name, lucky by nature as JoLayne Lucks wins the Florida state lottery. Though she needs to share the $28 million jackpot with two other players – and they have plans of their own.
Book #10: Lottery Boy by Michael Byrne
When his mother died Bully lost everything. Now Bully and his dog Jack live rough on the streets of London, but Bully's luck is about to change. He discovers an old birthday card from his mother. Inside is a lottery ticket, which turns out to be a winner. Getting his hands on the money, however, is not as straightforward as it seems.
Book #11: An Embarrassment of Riches by Gerald Hansen
Set in Northern Ireland this book juxtaposes the conflict of the troubled region with family squabbling following an unexpected lottery win in this dark comedy about family and greed.
#12: The Lottery Winner by Mary Higgins Clark
Alvirah Meehan, the former cleaning lady turned lottery winner, is a recurring character in the novels of Mary Higgins Clark. In The Lottery Winner she teams up with her companion Willy embark on a series of crime mysteries.
#13: Molly’s Millions by Victoria Connelly
When florist Molly Bailey wins £4.2 million in the UK Lotto she decides she doesn't want it and plans to give it away instead, much to the disgust of her brother. When journalist Tom Mackenzie gets wind of the story he realises it's just what he needs to kick-start his career. Will Molly fall prey to the forces conspiring against her, or will she stick to her guns?
#14: Million Dollar Dilemma by Judy Baer
Cassia Carr is another lottery winner with a similar dilemma. She's unsure as to what her next steps should be and equally unsure as to whether her amorous suitors are genuinely interested in her, or just her money, and is determined to find out.
#15: You Never Know: Tales of Tobias, an Accidental Lottery Winner by Lilian Duval
When his parents were killed in a car crash Tobias Hillyer put his life, and his dreams, on hold to look after his disabled younger brother. After years of struggling to make ends meet and a series of soul-crushing jobs Tobias wins the lottery. Though his newfound windfall doesn't necessarily mean the answer to all his problems.
#16: Fifty Million Reasons by Heather Wardell
Angela is a regular lottery player dreaming of leaving her humdrum existence behind. When she wins big on the lottery, however, she realises that leaving her old life behind isn't as straightforward as it seems.
#17: Unlucky Alice: The Lottery Ticket by Tanya G
Alice is an unlucky person, possibly the unluckiest person in the world. So when she wins the lottery it comes as quite a huge surprise. This Unlucky Alice story follows the hilarious cascade of calamities that befalls Alice on her way to claim her lottery win.
#18: The Winners by Julio Cortázar
A group of winners of the Argentinian state lottery are summoned in secret to a luxury cruise. Their destination is withheld from them, however, and, as the story progresses, the mystery runs ever deeper.
#19: Jackpot: A Swindle Mystery by Gordon Korman
Jackpot is one of the Swindle mysteries series for young readers. There's an unclaimed lottery ticket somewhere in the town of Cedarville – and whoever finds it first wins. Griffin Bing, aka "the man with the plan", intends to solve the mystery himself.
#20: Money Can't Buy Love by Connie Briscoe
Lenora Stone is a photographer for an aspirational magazine. She spends her life taking pictures of the rich and beautiful while her life continues to feel as though it's spiralling out of control. When she hits the jackpot in the state lottery she suddenly finds herself on the other end of the camera lens for a change and it's not all she thought it was cracked up to be.
Your Own Lottery Story?
As any publisher or literary agent will tell you the one thing that ties all successful novels together is tension! Tension between characters, tension caused by events, unforeseen or by design – it's tension that drives literary fiction in general and novels in particular.
In reality the lottery is the perfect antidote to tension by liberating you from the soul-draining 9-5 grind. No daily commute, no traffic jams to and from work, no dragged out days full of meaningless tasks and pointless office politics in between – just total financial freedom!