Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Christina's Children

(Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish)
Happy Tuesday, everybody! I (Christina) am thrilled to be doing this week's Top Ten Tuesday. I LOVE NAMES. I love to talk about names, read about names, vote in and scrutinize strangers' baby name polls, doodle names I like transliterated into various alphabets... you get the idea. Every Mother's Day I get far more excited about the posting of the official SSA top baby names list than I do about the holiday. And one of the coolest things I've ever seen was a baby name book called A for Atticus.
I already have two children and I'm not planning on having any more, so this list is purely hypothetical (which is great because the pressure of choosing a name for an actual child is not nearly as fun as an abstract discussion). But if I were to have 10 more children and if my husband were to have no say whatsoever in the matter, they might have these names:

1. Briony (Atonement, by Ian McEwan)
I know she's not most readers' favorite character, but I liked her despite her (major) flaws. And I think she's lucky to have a beautiful, graceful and uncommon name. I also really love the name of the actress who plays her in the film: Saoirse. (SEER-sheh) I suppose I would tire of tutoring people in the pronunciation (like several other names in this list).

2. Atticus (To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee)
Atticus Finch seems to show up a lot on these Top Ten lists, and I'll be curious to see if many other bloggers choose him for this week's topic. He's a fantastic character and an honorable person; he'd make a great namesake. This would have been on the short list for my own son, but unfortunately our last name starts with a "SH" sound that I think is awkward with names ending in "-s". I also really like the name Harper.

3. Alma (The History of Love, by Nicole Krauss)
It's been a few years since I read The History of Love, and I don't remember much about either of the characters (yes, there are two) named Alma, but I'm indebted to Nicole Krauss for introducing me to one of my very favorite names. I love that it has meaning in several languages and is used in many countries. Alma Mahler-Werfel is just one more reason this name rocks.

4. Marjane (Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi)
Most of the names on my list are ones that I like independently of any book or character, but this one is different. I was so impressed and moved by Persepolis that I grew to love the the author's name. So if I were ever to name my daughter Marjane, she would truly be named after Marjane Satrapi.

5. Silas (Silas Marner, George Eliot)
Poor, sweet Silas! He is a great character, and his old-timey name would be supercool and unusual for a modern dude. Too bad it has that same "-s" ending that doesn't work with my surname. I also like Eliot, as in both George and T.S.

6. Isobel (I for Isobel, by Amy Witting)
This is my daughter's name! I didn't read I for Isobel, though, until she was about a year old, so unfortunately I can't claim to have named her after this book. It's a clever, artful, sad, short novel about a girl/woman named Isobel (duh) who loves to read and write. Here's a good review, if you're curious.

7. Holden (A Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger)
Here's another character not everyone likes. His name, you gotta admit, really sounds like something that would be popular right now. There are bzillions of baby boys being given last name first names, and it seems like every third baby has a name that ends with -en. I like Holden better than all the others, though, maybe because of Holden Caulfield.

8. Susanna (Girl, Interrupted, by Susanna Kaysen)
I can't really put my finger on this one. I just like it. It's a good, solid, old-fashioned name, but not one you hear every day. I didn't particularly like Girl, Interrupted, but I still love this name.

9. Eloise (Eloise series, written by Kay Thompson, illustrated by Hilary Knight)
I've loved this charming name for a while, but I only just discovered (a few days ago!) the "book for precocious grownups" that features a little girl named Eloise who lives in the Plaza Hotel in NYC. She is rather naughty, but lovable.

10. Bronwen (How Green Was My Valley, by Richard Llewellyn)
Bronwen is beautiful and kind and good. Or, at least, that's the picture we get through Huw's eyes; Huw has always adored her. So when I think of this name, that's the kind of person I imagine. My husband imagines a brontosaurus, so Bronwen was never really a viable option for our family. I also really like Gruffydd (Griffith) but that would only really work if I were to relocate to Wales.

That was fun. Hooray for names! I can't wait to see what everyone else comes up with.