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Category: girls’ names from books

Pop Culture Names: Cora, Aurora and Devora

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The Nameberry 9 by Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

It happens all the time.

You’re expecting your first – or second, or third – and the perfect name eludes you.  There are lots of possibilities and maybes, but none of them are The Name.

And then along comes a movie, a television show, a celebrity, a song, and that’s it.  That’s the name.

The numbers tell us that pop culture is a major influence in baby naming.  And yet we resist the idea.  A name from a Jane Austen novel?  Classic, sophisticated.  From a soap opera or a Disney Channel series?  Sometimes we’re a little dismissive of those choices.

But here’s the thing about names: we can’t consider them until we are aware that they exist.

This week’s names all come from movies and television, books and blogs.  You may have heard them before, but seeing them on the screen could make the names feel fresh, interesting, and just right for a daughter.

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Your Favorite Literary Names for Girls

girl names from books

Great girls’ names abound in books, from classic characters like Jane Eyre and Scarlett O’Hara to more contemporary heroines like Matilda and Katniss.

So for our Question of the Week, we’d like to know: What are your favorite girls’ literary names?

Consult our master list of literary names for girls for inspiration. And please feel free to add wonderfully-named heroines we’ve overlooked.

And please tell us about the heroine, the book, and why you love it and the name so much!

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Cool Baby Names: Character Names

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Cool baby names today may reference celebrities, sure, but more and more parents are looking to fictional characters for inspiration when naming their children.

Based on nearly two million visits to Nameberry’s individual name pages over the past three months, we see these character names — from classic literature and futuristic fantasy, Old Hollywood films and modern animation — attracting big jumps in interest.

This is one cool baby names trend that makes sense.  Fictional characters embody positive, uplifting qualities that their mortal counterparts often fall short on.  And in the ever-broadening search for names with personal meaning, parents may find referencing a favorite book or film to be a perfect way to make an important style statement and give their child a namesake to look up to.

Here, the hottest character names on Nameberry right now:

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southe

There’s something unique about Southern names, with their smooshes of two girls’ names together, unusual nickname names and old-gentleman surname names, as well as classic appellations dating back to slave-naming traditions, that sets them apart from say, typically New England or Midwestern names.

So here are some interesting choices from books and plays by Southern writers about characters in Southern settings, from classics by George W. Cable and William Faulkner to more modern works like Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.

Since we’ve covered Gone With the Wind and To Kill a Mockingbird pretty thoroughly before, you won’t find Scarlett or Ashley or Atticus in this list; here are some less familiar finds.

Girls

AdaCharles Frazier, Cold Mountain

Alma—Tennessee Williams, Summer and Smoke 

AmandaTennessee Williams, The Glass Menagerie

BlancheTennessee Williams, A Streetcar Named Desire

Calpurnia—Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

Castalia—Allan Gurganus, Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All

CelieAlice Walker, The Color Purple

ChablisJohn Berendt, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

Clytie (Clytemnesta)– William Faulkner, Absalom, Absalom

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natl velvet

There are countless names that have been plucked from books and transferred to birth certificates, including current favorites like Atticus (To Kill a Mockingbird) and Holden (Catcher in the Rye) and Emma (Emma), not to mention Romeo and Juliet.

But there are lots more literary names that are not as obvious, some from more obscure books, others of less prominent characters.  Here are 50 such  examples of creative literary names that have not made it into the mainstream, but could make interesting choices—25 of them for each gender.

But bear in mind that though these names all have literary cred, it doesn’t necessarily follow that they’re attached to the most heroic characters.

GIRLS

  1. AbraEast of Eden, John Steinbeck
  2. AdelaidaThe Idiot, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  3. AliaDune, Frank Herbert; Midnight’s Child, Salman Rushdie
  4. Clea –  The Alexandria Quartet, Lawrence Durrell
  5. ClemencyThe Battle of Life, Charles Dickens
  6. CosetteLes Misérables, Victor Hugo
  7. DabneyDelta Wedding, Eudora Welty
  8. FantineLes Misérables, Victor Hugo
  9. Honoria –  Bleak House, Charles Dickens; Babylon Revisited, F. Scott Fitzgerald
  10. Lindo – The Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan
  11. Lizaveta – The Idiot, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  12. MaltaBleak House, Charles Dickens
  13. Marilla –  Anne of Green Gables, L. M. Montgomery

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