I read a lot and it never fails to amaze me how often I come across the number seven. It seems to be everywhere. The seven seas, the seven continents, seven food groups. I don’t believe that numbers carry any special hidden meaning, though some people do, but they certainly seem to impress us a lot, especially seven.
Look at the number of times that seven is mentioned in the Bible. Just off the top of my head I remember the 7 virtues, the 7 deadly sins, and the 7 days it took to create the world. There are also 7 seals, 7 kings, and 7 demons of Mary Magdalene, and one thing that has always made me wonder is the 7 days it took for Solomon’s wedding. That must have been some wingding!
We just can’t get enough of seven. It’s used in titles of I don’t know how many films and books. Look at these films: “The Seven Samurai,” “The Magnificent Seven,” “Seven Beauties,” “Seven Blows of the Dragon,” “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers,” “Seven Days in May,” “Seven Hills of Rome,” “Seven Days to Noon,” “Seven Minutes in Heaven,” “Seven Times,” “Seven Up,” “The Seven Year Itch,” “Seven Years in Tibet,” “The Seventh Cross,” “The Seventh Seal,” “The Seventh Sign.”
And to top it all off, one just called “Seven.”
I started looking up books with “Seven” in them, and soon found that if you want to write a book about self-improvement you do not want to call it, “Seven Ways To ... whatever.” Been done. Just look at these: “The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work,” “The Seven Laws of Teaching,” “Seven Levels of Intimacy,” “Seven Practices of Effective Ministry,” and “Seven Strategies of Assessment for Learning.” There are lots more.
There’s a fellow who seems to have based his entire writing career on seven. “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens,” “The 7 Habits of Happy Kids,” “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens Personal Workbook,” “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families,” and others.
Some people don’t bother with all the extra words. They go straight for the throat. “The Seven,” by Derek James Edgington, “The Seven,” by Sean Patrick Little, and “The Seven,” by Michael Harold Brown, and more.
Some people cut it down even farther. “Seven,” by Tristan Hodges, “Seven,” by John MacDonald, “Seven,” by Anthony Bruno, and “Seven,” by Linda Roman. And more!
Some people even think that’s too much title. Take “The 7,” by Steve McCardell, “7,” by David M. Eastis, and “7,” by Carl Roc.
I find the title, “Seven Years to Sin,” by Sylvia Day, rather intriguing. Never took me that long to commit a sin, Johnny. I’d forget what I was doing. And chances are the opportunity would have flown. But I suppose we all sin at our own speed.
I was impressed by another title I ran across because it was so familiar, but I hadn’t thought of it when I was thinking about book titles with seven in them. Can you guess what it is?
“The House of Seven Gables” by Nathaniel Hawthorne — an early American classic. I’ve never read it, but like you, I’ve heard about it all my life. Remember the story? The naughty lady who had to wear an A for adultery on her clothing, and who for some reason I never fathomed didn’t tell anyone that it was the minister who was the other half of the dirty deed?
No one would take much notice of that book in today’s world. In fact, it might not even get published. You’d have to change the whole plot. Hester, the heroine, would have to wear a large A on her blouse to advertise her profession. She’d have to be picked up by the police in Back Bay Boston and arrested for advertising a banned profession. The ACLU would have to take the case as a First Amendment rights case and be beaten by a tough young prosecutor who turns out to be a Baptist minister who reveals — in 777 seamy pages — that the tricky ACLU lawyer has been guilty, each day of the 7 days of the week, of each one of the 7 deadly sins, while operating 7 homes for the elderly in each of 7 cities, including the one where Hester’s 77 ever year old druggie mother has been since she left Hester on the street at age 7.
The title? “The House of Seven Ladies.” People want more meat on the bones of a story these days, Johnny.
One “seven” book title that caught my attention was “Seven Miracles That Saved America: Why They Matter and Why We Should Have Hope.” I wondered what we were supposed to have hope for? Maybe we could hope for 7 days without negative election ads. Or that 7 promises are kept by the 777,777 people we elect to office around the country each four years.
A few paragraphs back I said, “We just can’t get enough of seven.” In case you thought I was kidding, I read the book titles of the first 11 pages on Amazon that had “seven” in them, but then I quit. Why? I looked up at the top of the page. It was showing, “books 121 through 132 of 424,949 results.”
I had to quit, Johnny. I didn’t have 7 years to spend.
I didn’t know there were that many books, did you?