Category: Questions of the Week

What Names Do You Love from Books?

names from books

by Pamela Redmond

My favorite book is Jane Eyre, and I don’t think it’s an accident that its title is a name. Names are so central to my enjoyment of books: the names of the characters and of the authors, even the titles themselves. If a character has a wonderful name, I’m already halfway in love. And if the names in the book feel discordant — out of time or place or literally out of character — I lose confidence in the author. If he named the grandmother Jennifer and the little girl Edna with no explanation, I think, what other, harder stuff is he going to get wrong?

Names can affect our literary responses, but how about when a literary character affects how we feel about a name? When the little girl at the Plaza lends her charm to Eloise or when an enterprising urchin makes Sawyer sound smart?

That’s a whole different way of thinking about names and books, and one that’s perfectly valid in considering your answer to our question this week: What names do you love from books? You can take that to mean: What names have books made you fall in love with or What names do you love that have a literary connection? Or even, Which books have the best names or Do books influence how you feel about names at all?

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What’s Your Favorite Name Era?

By Linda Rosenkrantz

Most of us name lovers, even those who are fans of new, cutting-edge monikers, also have an affinity for names of the past. But which part of the past? There are so many possibilities!

Ancient names like Cassius?

Medievals like Isolde?

Puritan names like Prudence?

Frilly Victorian Valentine names ?

Gay 90s nicknames such as Millie and Minnie and Archie?

The Downton Abbey World War I era of Violets and Ediths and Coras?

Midcentury/Mad-Men-type faves–Roger, Sally, Peggy?

The more recent past when names like Amy and Amanda, Jason and Joshua ruled?

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unusual family names

by Pamela Redmond Satran

My grandfather’s middle name was Owen, which was pretty unusual when I was growing up. I never thought back then that I’d name a son Owen, much less that Owen would become a Top 50 boys’ name!

What’s the most unusual name in your family? Can you imagine it ever coming back into style? Or maybe it’s so rare it was never in style in the first place.

We’d love to hear its origins, if you know them: How it was chosen, how the bearer felt about it, and whether Great-Uncle Oral inspired any namesakes.

We’d also love to know whether you’d consider using it as a name for a baby? A middle name? Do you love your unusual family name? Hate it? Why or why not?

For a wider look at unusual vintage baby names, check out our lists of lost names of 1916 for boys and for girls.

Get one of these awesome personalized family trees, unusual names and all, from the Etsy shop karuskicolours.

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Is a Nickname Name Enough?

By Linda Rosenkrantz

The current Most Popular list is chockfull of nickname names, and there’s no doubt in my mind that the new one arriving next month will include even more. Girl and boy Charlies and Sams and Frankies, Jakes and Josies, starbabies named Hal and Hank.

They’re cute and catchy and couldn’t be more friendly or relaxed. But is there a downside?

Will a boy christened Will wish he could put William on his college application? (And will people assume that William is his full name?) And would a woman named Izzy feel she’ll never quite be taken seriously?

Or are these non-issues, with Ellie and Evie simply today’s Molly and Polly?

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girly-girl names

Eleonora and Arabella, Scarlett and Juliette.

Whether long-held favorite or guilty pleasure, girly-girl names have an undeniable appeal.

What’s your favorite ultra-feminine name for girls?

And would you use one for your daughter? Why or why not?

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