In honor of Pi Day: 14 trilogies

In honor of Pi Day: 14 trilogies

Today is March 14 (3.14), which is recognized as “Pi Day”. 🙂

You see, 3.14 (and an infinite number of digits more…I remember as much as 3.14159 offhand) is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, and March is the third month of the year, so in the USA, we say it is 3/14 today (which, as three fourteenths, would really be 0.2142857), even though in most of the world they put the day before the month (which makes sense: they do “little middle big”…why do we do “middle little big?”), and…never mind. 😉

I wanted to do something connected to it, and three is also a big number in literature…so I figured if I listed fourteen trilogies, that would work.

A “trilogy” of books is three novels (I’m going to stick with fiction) that go together. They often have a throughline arc…the story starts in the first one, develops in the second, and ends in the third…but it doesn’t always work quite that way.

Not surprisingly, the third one is often people’s least favorite. Endings are hard! I remember, when I managed a brick-and-mortar bookstore, somebody asking me what I thought of Stephen King’s

It (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

I said something like, “The first twelve hundred pages are great…”


Culture does like threes. 🙂 There are the Three Stooges, the Three Fates, the Three Musketeers, and the Three Little Pigs, to name a few…

As I’m picking these, I’m not trying to choose the “best” (always subjective), or even the best-known. I’m going to look for an interesting mix. My main criteria are that they are in the (USA) Kindle store and they don’t block text-to-speech access**. It’s possible that there are more than three books…for example, The Hobbit won’t disqualify The Lord of the Rings, which may be what comes first to many people’s minds in terms of trilogies (and what perhaps inspired quite a few other fantasy/science fiction publishers to plan on trilogies).

One more thing: is it better to get all three in one title, if you can, or get them separately? There are advantages and disadvantages to both. It is sometimes (but not always) cheaper to get an omnibus (“bundle”). However, the file is larger, and documentation can be more confusing. If you highlight something in an omnibus, it tells you it came from that omnibus…not from the individual title. My preference in listing here is going to be the omnibus, when possible…I like the convenience of that.

The Lord of the Rings: One Volume (at AmazonSmile)
by J.R.R. Tolkien
4.6 out of 5 stars, 3,075 customer reviews
Included: The Fellowship of the Ring; The Two Towers; The Return of the King
1220 pages listed for paper edition
$10.99 at time of writing

Fifty Shades Trilogy (at AmazonSmile)
by E.L. James
4.3 stars, 8,716 reviews
Included: Fifty Shades of Grey; Fifty Shades Darker; Fifty Shades Freed
1501 pages

Gee, there are more then twice as many reviews for this trilogy as for LotR…I guess you could say that, in that category, Fifty Shades has the Lord of the Rings, um, “whipped”. 😉

The Hunger Games Trilogy (at AmazonSmile)
by Suzanne Collins
4.7 stars, 6,993 reviews
Included: The Hunger Games; Catching Fire; Mockingjay
1,187 pages

Kristin Lavransdatter (at AmazonSmile)
by Sigrid Undset
4.6 stars, 112 reviews
Included: The Wreath; The Wife; The Cross
1168 pages

Undset won a Nobel Prize in literature in 1928, in part on the basis of these historical novels.

Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Trilogy (at AmazonSmile)
by Stieg Larsson
4.6 stars, 851 reviews
Included: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo; The Girl Who Played with Fire; The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest
570 pages

I haven’t read these…are they actually that short?

The Providence Trilogy (at AmazonSmile)
by Jamie McGuire
4.5 stars, 415 reviews
Included: Providence; Requiem; Eden
857 pages

Independently published paranormal romance…well-reviewed and inexpensive.

Star Wars: Trilogy (25th Anniversary Collector’s Edition) (at AmazonSmile)
by George Lucas, Donald F. Glut, James Kahn
4.6 stars, 36 reviews
Included: Star Wars: A New Hope; Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back; and Star Wars: Return of the Jedi
870 pages

Yes, George Lucas was the credited author on the first novelization of the first (released) Star Wars novel. 🙂

The Century Trilogy (no omnibus available)
by Ken Follett

The New York Trilogy (at AmazonSmile)
by Paul Auster
4.0 stars, 136 reviews
Included: City of Glass; Ghosts; The Locked Room
390 pages

Mysteries…sort of. These are a bit more surreal than you might imagine.

The Forsyte Saga (at AmazonSmile)
by John Galsworthy
4.5 stars, 53 reviews
Included: The Man of Property; In Chancery; To Let
912 pages

In what may seem rather modern to some, these 1920s novels also have two short stories (“interludes”) which bridge them.

The Divergent Series Complete Collection (at AmazonSmile)
by Veronica Roth
4.3 stars, 590 reviews
Included: Divergent; Insurgent; Allegiant
859 pages

The first book is soon to be “a major motion picture”…could possibly be one of the big movies of the year.

His Dark Materials Omnibus (at Amazon Smile)
by Philip Pullman
4.1 stars, 1,315 reviews
Included: The Golden Compass; The Subtle Knife; The Amber Spyglass
946 pages

It’s already been a not-so-major motion picture ;), but that shouldn’t put you off the books.

Henry VI: Parts One, Two, and Three (at AmazonSmile)
by William Shakespeare
5 stars, 1 review (for this edition)
608 pages

In case you thought trilogies only went back a few decades…

The Oedipus Trilogy: Oedipus the King, Oedipus at Colonus, and Antigone (at AmazonSmile)
by Sophocles
3 stars, 1 review (for this edition)
300 pages

In case you thought trilogies only went back a few centuries…



You may have others you’d like to mention…feel free to do so by commenting on this post. By the way, before it comes up: Douglas Adams calling the Hitchhiker series a “trilogy” was sort of a joke. 😉

Nominate a child to be given a free Kindle at Give a Kid a Kindle. You can also now recommend a child to be the recipient.

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) By the way, it’s been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to “start at AmazonSmile” if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things.

** A Kindle with text-to-speech can read any text downloaded to it…unless that access is blocked by the publisher inserting code into the file to prevent it. That’s why you can have the device read personal documents to you (I’ve done that). I believe that this sort of access blocking disproportionately disadvantages the disabled, although I also believe it is legal (provided that there is at least one accessible version of each e-book available, however, that one can require a certification of disability). For that reason, I don’t deliberately link to books which block TTS access here (although it may happen accidentally, particularly if the access is blocked after I’ve linked it). I do believe this is a personal decision, and there  are legitimate arguments for purchasing those books. 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

8 Responses to “In honor of Pi Day: 14 trilogies”

  1. Dazrin Says:

    RE: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Trilogy (Millennium Trilogy) – The first book is well over 500 pages, so I assume that is only the page count for that one.

  2. Barbara Berry Says:

    No. The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo, et al, are not that short. That could be the length of one of them. Couldn’t find my p-back version!

  3. Harold Delk Says:

    Divergent series: Found the title of this Amazon review interesting and many others seem to agree. I’ve not read any of this series, but loved reading the reviews.

    “Book 1 is a must read. Book 2 is a great supplement. Book 3 is a train wreck. Abandon ship before book 3!”

  4. Edward Boyhan Says:

    Rex Stout is one of my two most favorite authors (the other being PG Wodehouse). Stout wrote a “trilogy” of stories about a master villain, Arnold Zeck, over the years — these stories are felt among fans to be among the best in the Nero Wolfe canon. In 1974 Viking published all 3 novels in a 502 page omnibus edition “Triple Zeck” which is unfortunately only available in hardback (though the individual stories can be found as eBooks).

    I have come to think that the trilogy is perhaps the best length for connected stories. This has been brought home to me in Science Fiction where series can end up being endless — so much so that by the time I get to numbers 9 or 10 I tend to get bored, and I just stop — the series just seem to be going round and round.

    That actually got me to thinking about one series from years back by E. C. Tubb — The Dumarest Saga. To me it was endless, and kind of depressing, but always with a hook at the end: is he finally goping to find his way back to Earth? Kept me going into the 20’s.

    I just looked on Wikipedia — the series ended up at 33 volumes! (:grin) — Double 3 — a perfect coincidence methinks for PI day 😀

    Apparently many mathematicians in the US spend PI day eating Pie :-).

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Edward!

      That’s a good addition to the list…maybe I’ll add it next Pi Day! 🙂

      In some cases, book series are like TV series. There isn’t one story line (although, arguably, there are sometimes arcs that are like TV seasons). In the close to 200 Doc Savage adventures (there were 181 originally, but there have since been later authorized novels), it’s like that…and I never got bored with those. 😉

  5. Tom Semple Says:

    Thanks for the list, there are some that I definitely want to check out. The ‘His Dark Materials’ trilogy is one of my favorites. I liked the Golden Compass movie very much, the enjoyment diminished only because there will not be any sequels due to lack of commercial success.

    I don’t understand the appeal of Divergent. I read it, but it seems a tepid riff on (the inevitable comparison) The Hunger Games, which I did enjoy. Difficult to see how the movie can overcome the weak material. Hopefully it will ‘diverge’ from it and have some creative additions.

    I think in general I would prefer a ‘bundle’ (discounted price on separate books) rather than Omnibus edition. But I haven’t seen Amazon do that kind of promotion. Mainly that’s because I like smaller ‘bites’ and when you have a book that takes 100 hours to read it can be difficult to have a sense of progress (‘still at 15% done?’). Also there is no Whispersync for Voice option for omnibus editions.

  6. Lady Galaxy Says:

    Would this qualify as a trilogy? Little Women, Little Men, Jo’s Boys by Louisa May Alcott? If so, that was my favorite trilogy when I was a child. I still enjoy Little Men and Jo’s Boys. I always thought Little Women was a bit too preachy.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Lady!

      Absolutely! I actually considered that one, but didn’t get it on the list this time. I didn’t see a good edition with the three books (there are collected works and the individuals), so that dissuaded me a bit.

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