The Baby Name Game

This week I’m doing a throwback to one of the Broke and the Bookish’s long-ago post topics, which is characters and literary figures that I would name my hypothetical children after. This Top Ten Tuesday and I were meant to be. I thoroughly enjoy playing the baby name game any old time, but bookish themed ones are just the cherry on top of my sundae.

Fun fact: according to my mother, I was named after a supporting character in a romance novel. I’d like to think this says a lot about me.

In a valiant attempt to keep this list at a firm ten, I am breaking it up into Top 5 girl names and Top 5 boy names. Here we go!

The Wee Ladies

1. Alanna: I have had this one on lock since I first read Tamora Pierce’s Lioness series when I was twelve. That is some serious consistency in a top choice considering that I am now twenty-four. Alanna is strong and carves her own path through life, so I feel like that is an excellent namesake.

2. Luna: I wouldn’t saddle my child with Hermione (fine name for a witch, not so much for a muggle) but I could see myself naming my daughter Luna. She’s quirky and smart and quite honestly one of my favorite HP characters.

3. Blake: This one would be kind of double whammy. 1) One of my favorite poets is William Blake and 2) One of my favorite characters is Anita Blake from the Anita Blake series by Laurell K Hamilton. Plus I like the idea of having a slightly masculine or at least gender neutral name on the list.

4. Arya: I’m a Song of Ice and Fire junkie. I stopped myself from adding Daenerys or Khaleesi because I don’t want my hypothetical children to be brutally teased in the school yard. I mean, it will happen anyway, because kids can be cruel and they’ll find something else to pick on, but I’d rather not have it be my name choice that does the deed. Anyway, the name Arya just sounds so nice. And I can still nerd out over it.

5. Skye: This child might turn out to be a major hippy, but I’d feel proud to name her after Skye O’Malley from Bertrice Small’s epic saga. Yes, I would name my child after a character in a romance novel. Based on my opening fun fact this seems completely legitimate to me.

And the Wee Gents

1. Liam:┬áThis name is also from the Lioness series, but I would have to make a serious choice over Liam and Alanna because in the book they become lovers for a while and I will not name siblings after characters that have sex. There’s just too much weirdness for that. It will literally be whichever gender comes first that gets dibs on my top name choice.

2. Rowling: This one just occurred to me as I was making this list, but I like the name Rowling for a little boy. It’s a great way to pay homage to a favorite author while being a little unique. I like this plan and it just might stick.

3. Austen: I quite like that I’d name a little girl after a male poet and would name a little boy after a female author (or two). Jane Austen is one of my all time favorites and she writes some swoon worthy male characters, but I’m not forcing the life of Darcy on a little boy, nor do I want to be as obvious as William. Oh! Bennett would be a good one though. Can you tell I’m a Pride and Prejudice fan?

4. Owen: John Irving’s A Prayer For Owen Meany is one of my all time favorite books. Not that I would want my child to be extremely short or have a Christ-complex, but I adore the name and think it would be a subtle tribute.

5. Burke: This would be another whichever gender came first scenario. Niall Burke is one of Skye O’Malley’s principle love interests and I am enamored with how either Niall or Burke sounds as a name for a boy. Again, wouldn’t name my girl Skye and my boy Burke because that would be too much name incest, but apart they’re solid name choices in my book.

Phew! Choosing literary names was harder than I thought. What literary legacy would you label your child with?

Characters That I Relate To a Little Too Well

This week’s Broke and the Bookish meme is all about Characters that I [fill in the blank]. So I chose to take on the idea of characters that I relate to in ways that are sometimes not the best. Good literature is like looking in a mirror; your reactions to characters both good and bad can allow you to see something deeper about your self. In no particular order, here are the characters I connect to in some way, shape, or form.

  1. Offred in The Handmaid’s Tale: She’s trapped by her society and caught in her past. Offred’s way of ┬áhandling these external and internal forces isn’t always wise. Atwood’s novel is a terrifying glimpse into a future that doesn’t seem as impossible as we would like, and I appreciate that she didn’t populate her narrative with any gradient of perfect people. Offred fights depression and a sense of hopelessness with raw emotion and aggressive rebellion. Who the heck hasn’t done that?
  2. Susie Salmon in The Lovely Bones: It feels a tad strange to say that I relate so well to a twelve-year-old girl who views the world from her perch in Heaven. But she seeks the best in situations that are absolutely dismal; it doesn’t always work for her but I certainly appreciate the effort. When I first read this book in the seventh grade I felt so connected to Susie’s disconnection. It’s all about that first read when it comes to relating to characters.
  3. Esther Greenwood in The Bell Jar: Within reading the first five pages of Plath’s infamously autobiographical novel, I felt a kinship with Esther. And then my next thought was, “Well, crap, that can’t be healthy!” There’s just something in Plath’s tone and language that feels like her words could be mine too. Dealing with issues of stability and sexuality is something plenty of readers can connect with, regardless of your current state of mental health.
  4. Jane Eyre in Jane Eyre: Any girl (or hey, any guy) who has connected with Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman when they treat her like poo on the bottom of their shoes in the boutique can connect with Jane Eyre. It’s the same general principle of feeling alienated and being made to be a lesser for their perceived station in life, only more darkly Romantic. Jane has more of a vengeful streak than Julia though, which I think makes her more interesting.
  5. Bridget Jones in Bridget Jones’s Diary: My inner frantic nutbag connects with Bridget. That is all.
  6. Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Gurrrrrrrrl, I have been there. In your most passionately desperate moments–in the throes of love or even lust–you know you have pulled a Helena. I read her dialogue and simultaneously wince and nod in sisterly understanding. Such is life, I suppose.
  7. Briseis in Daughter of Troy: Oi. Briseis is selfish, haughty, and just this side of vain. But she is also strong, empowered, and captivating. One of my favorite books of all time as well as one of my favorite characters.
  8. Danny Saunders in The Chosen: Danny can be abrasive and unyielding in his opinions. His push-pull with tradition and family is something I could truly connect with though. I’ve got a lot of love for this character.
  9. Sydney Carton in A Tale of Two Cities: Such a bad man! I love him more than any other character in the book. Who needs Lucie? I was so compelled by Sydney and felt like he was the person I was most interested in following along with.
  10. Gene in A Separate Peace: Given the ending, I feel a tad guilty about connecting with Gene. His introvert characteristics and wicked streak of jealousy are avenues I’ve been down myself.

None of these characters are “bad people”. They’re complex and potentially brooding and there is something relatable in all of them. It’s all in how you connect as a reader, and our darker sides connect with characters just as readily as our lighter sides.

Hope you enjoyed my Top Ten Tuesday post. Happy Reading!