Category: Berry Juice
By Mathieu Cailler
During my recent book tour travels, I would often read a short story titled “Zorba’s” from my collection, Loss Angeles. In it, a young couple contemplates names for their soon-to-be-born baby boy. They go back and forth: the husband likes a name, the wife does not, and vice-versa. What I noticed at the readings was that everyone has a name story. And it got me thinking about the names in my book, and how I came to select them.
As I did last year last year, I’ve now compiled a list of the best – in my opinion – names given to just five babies last year. I tried to keep to only conventionally spelled names or properly spelled variations, such as Agathe and Olivine.
Agathe – This is the Greek spelling of Agatha, meaning “good.” Agathe von Trapp was the oldest daughter in the famous von Trapp, known in The Sound of Music as Liesl. There’s a Saint Agatha and the writer Agatha Christie. Agathe is a strong name with a cute nickname: Aggie.
I’m starting this series with my favourite 19th century novelist, Thomas Hardy. If you’re looking for whimsical Victorian names, biblical rarities or wholesome old-timey nicknames, you’ll find them all in his books.
Hardy is famous for his stories of drama, scandal and (usually) doomed love set in rural southwest England, which he called by its historic name of Wessex. (Incidentally, that was also the name of his dog.) Besides the dramatics, his novels are also full of warm scenes of ordinary country life, which Hardy saw vanishing in his lifetime.
His two best-known characters both have short, sweet and successful names. You might recognise them from the title of their books.
Jude (the Obscure) is no longer an obscure name at all. It’s been rising in popularity over the last couple of decades, helped by Jude Law bringing it to public attention, and the Beatles song ‘Hey, Jude‘. In the US it ranks at 162 and might just break into the top 100 in the next few years. It’s already there in England and Wales, at 65.
Tess (of the d’Urbervilles) is declining in popularity on both sides of the Atlantic, ranking 998 in the US and 763 in England and Wales). That’s not the whole story, as there are probably a fair few girls called Tessa and Teresa who answer to Tess. In the Netherlands, where short girls’ names are very on-trend, Tess was the top name in 2013, and in 2015 was no. 7.
His characters cover the whole social range from servants and farmhands to landed gentry, and their names are equally varied. Let’s take a look at some of the naming styles he used.
By Sophie Kihm
Like any name nerd, I am utterly fascinated by the world of celebrity baby names.
Bold choices without backlash, five middle names, starting international trends? It’s a name lover’s dream. Alas, we don’t all have that kind of star-power. However, the following celebrities do—and they all have babies on the way! While it’s hard to make predictions about what their kiddos will ultimately be named (they do have a bigger pool to choose from than the rest of us, after all), here are my suggestions of names I think match their style.
By Abby Sandel
Earlier this month, we shared our list of the Best Baby Names Right Now. We declared them the right mix of authentic and creativie, perfect for 2016, and wearable into the 22nd century, too.
It was so much fun to hear your reactions. Perhaps the most controversial name? John, dismissed as boring and obvious after so many years of popularity.
We also asked you to add one more name to our list. Berries never disappoint! Your suggestions ranged from the head-smacking “Why didn’t that one make the cut?” to a few that we’re watching for 2017.
Seventeen of the names received multiple mentions, so let’s start with those: