Lists, Reviews

Characters to name your kids after: Top ten literary names

This week’s question: pick a top ten topic that you missed the first time around. I missed the February 8, 2011 top ten list: Top Ten Character That I’d Name My Children After (as hosted by The Broke and The Bookish), so that is the topic I chose. I imagine this topic appeals more to women than men, women seem to think about names of future children more than men do (any male readers out there to contradict me?).

I’m actually going to give you twenty (double the fun), ten boys and ten girls. In no particular order:

Top Ten Literary Girls Names:

1. June in Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

2. Elinor in Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

3. Flora in Babar by Jean de Brunhoff

4. Thomasin in Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy

5. Mercy in The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare

6. Frannie (Frances) in The Hotel New Hampshire by John Irving and in The Stand by Stephen King

7. Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

8. Maisie in What Maisie Knew by Henry James

9. Matilda in Matilda by Roald Dahl

10. Blythe Lucy M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables series

Top Ten Literary Boys Names:

1. Dexter in One Day by David Nicholls

2. August/us/Gus in The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

3. Finn in Finn and Hengest by J. R. R. Tolkein (a scholarly study) and Hitchers by Will McIntosh (there is of course Huck Finn too)

4. Gray in The Pelican Brief by John Grisham

5. Oscar in Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist

6. Jonas in The Giver by Lois Lowry

7. Ignatius in Horns by Joe Hill

8. Gage in Pet Sematary by Stephen King

9. Hughes in Tigers in Red Weather by Liza Klaussman

10. Quillen in Sea Glass by Anita Shreve

I would like to point out that while I love the character names, I did not 100% love all the characters on this list (there were a few that I liked the name but didn’t love the character – like Hughes).

What about you? What was your list this week? Any literary baby names you would love to use?

Photo: Tom Gauld (sadly, it’s sold out)

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  • rubybastille

    Good ideas! I love Jonas both as a name and for the character. Elinor is a good choice, too – I love classic named spelled in non-traditional ways.

    My list was favorite heroines, many of which would be great to name children after. 😉

  • Brittany

    Ooh double the fun 🙂
    I really like Jonas and Dexter! They just sound like such strong names for a boy.

  • Quinn

    Matilda by Roald Dahl is such a great book, and also a great baby girl’s name. I did a post similar to this for a TTT freebie awhile back, but I chose names I would name my pets after. Weird, I know.

    But I named one of dogs Daphne, after Daphne DuMaurier, author of Rebecca.

    Here’s my TTT

  • tlongford

    1. Ethne (The Four Feathers by A.E. Mason)
    2. Fairlight (Christy by Catherine Marshall)
    3. Angharrad (How Green was my Valley by Richard Llewellyn)

    1. Conan (Conan by Robert E. Howard)
    2. Strider (Lord of the Rings by Tolkein)
    3. Theseus (The King Must Die by Mary Renault)

    • Rory O’Connor

      Ethne looks pretty written but I don’t like the way it’s pronounced and I can’t say I’d use any of those boys names 🙂

      • tlongford

        But if you named your son Theseus, you could call him The for short! How cool would that be, hahaha?

  • Ellie Potten (@Bookshop_Girl)

    Phew, thank heavens for your disclaimer at the end – I was about to type-yell something along the lines of ‘GAGE?! YOU’D PICK GAGE?!’ I’m still haunted by that book… 😉

    I like ‘Oscar’ and ‘Gray’ – they’d fit nicely with my ‘Picture of Dorian Gray’ obsession – and I was THAT CLOSE to adding ‘Matilda’ to my list. She was the first character I really identified with, I think, not for the vile family (or the magic powers!) but because she loved books so much. I’m definitely an ‘Elinor’ too, always the quiet sensible one, but since my name IS Eleanor, I didn’t add her to my list either!

    Fantastic choices – and thanks for dropping by to see mine! 😀
    Ellie @ Musings of a Bookshop Girl

  • Shelver506

    Love this list! I don’t have any kids, but I’ve toyed around with the name Blythe for as long as I can remember. And I completely forgot about Elinor. What a pretty name.

    My TTT:

  • softdrink

    I’m never having kids, but if I did, there is NO WAY I would name my daughter after Frannie from The Stand. Especially after seeing Molly Ringwald’s interpretation of the character. Mercy, though. Man, I loved that book.

    • Rory O’Connor

      Oh man, that version of The Stand movie, I so hope they make a new one as they are rumored to be considering. I like Frannie in the book for the most part, but Molly Ringwald…just no.

  • nerdybookgirl (@nerdybookgirl)

    I love book-inspired names. My oldest daughter (12) is named Alicia Hope and that is based from a memoir I read while pregnant called Alicia: My Story. My son (nearly 2) is named Atticus; obviously after Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird. I’m expecting a baby girl in February and we are naming her Persephone Jane. Persephone from mythology and Jane after Jane Eyre, Jane Austen, and –my favorite queen — Jane Grey!

    • Rory O’Connor

      I like all of those, I like them even more that there is literary reasoning behind them. I’ve toyed with using Scout for a middle name for a g/b- I love that book!

  • Bridget

    How about Eustacia and Arabella for girls and Damon for a boy? Eustacia and Damon came from Hardy’s “Return of the Native” and Arabella came his “Jude the Obscure.”. If your daughter has black hair, Eustacia makes sense.

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