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?