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Thursday, May 12, 2011

Books For Thought: What is your opinion on weird character names?

Previously known as Monday's Question of the Day, Books For Thought is a feature where I post a book-related question up for discussion. I am open to all opinions and enjoy reading diverse comments from my lovely followers. I look forward to picking your minds!

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What is your opinion on weird character names? (i.e. Renesmee, Katniss, Po, etc.). Love them or loathe them?

(Question credit goes to: Colleen from The Story Inventory)

My Response: Nice question Colleen! I actually like when author's come up with unique names. In my opinion, it balances out all the generic names, especially when that name turns into my favorite character. It helps me remember their stand out performance instead of confusing them with other characters. My only complaint would be when it's a name I can't pronounce, it drives me a little crazy not knowing if I'm reading it properly.

What are your bookish thoughts?


Maya said...

I'm in agreement. I'm a total sucker for unique names (although Renesmee wasn't one of my favorites). It adds intrigue and is definitely easier to remember than the thousand Kates and Amandas that are main characters. Not that there's anything wrong with those names, but there are a lot of them. :)

Unknown said...

I completely, absolutely agree with you.
It's frustrating when I am uncertain if I'm pronouncing the name right in my head, because it does actually make a difference to me, if I find out I've been wrong all that time.

But I do love *unique* names, needless to say Katniss Everdeen. Weird names may be different, but that's subjective.
Really generic ones become forgettable, especially when the first AND surname are conventional, normal people names.

So love or loathe them?


The Insouciant Sophisticate said...

I also hate when I don't know how to pronounce a name but in general I loathe unique names, at least in contemporaries. I allow a bit more leeway in fantasy.

Anonymous said...

Agree I loved katniss 's name it was so easy to pronounce and when you say "katniss" everyone knows you mean the hunger games trilogy
ness's name on the other had I could never pronounce at all

Tere Kirkland said...

I like unique names when the world is unique, too. But for stories taking place in our society, there's a fine line between unique (read: memorable) and wack. Usually as long as the name is not too "on the nose" (Claire Voyant? Yikes!), I like a unique name.

Katniss's name is (I think) a corruption of cat tail, or catkins, which is what she is named after. I like that Panem's names were similar to names in our society, but altered like they would over time.

I always thought the name Renésmée was an abomination only second to the creature who bore that name. *shivers*


Amber said...

I hate names I can't pronounce. Nothing is worse than telling someone about this amazing novel and then saying "It's about this girl, shurnera" because you can't pronounce it. I am just going to substitute it in my head for "Mary" or something else while I'm reading anyway. I do like names that don't show up over and over or names that really fit the character. Katniss is a great example. In a newer novel, Divergent, I love the names Tris and Four (even though they are nicknames). I just want a name I can pronounce that fits the character.

Great question!

Nikki (Wicked Awesome Books) said...

I'm okay with some unique names, but others I just find way too strange. The name Katniss doesn't bother me (I even like it, but not sure if it's actually the name or the character) and I like the name Po, something like Renesmee is just ridiculous. I read a review for All You Get Is Me and actually laughed at the names. There's Roar (like a lion!), Storm, and Forest (this one is okay, but when combined with the other two, is a big haha).

If the names make sense (like Katniss' and many other Hunger Games names - aside from Gale - that I still don't get) and don't detract from my reading experience, then it's fine. But when a name makes me giggle, it really isn't working for me.

lanna-lovely said...

It depends on the name. If I like the name, then the weirdness is fine with me.

Renesmee = epic fail as far as names's just...eugh. But there are plenty of unusual names that I like.

Fiktshun said...

Totally agree with lanna-lovely about Renesmee - meh!

But there's weird good and weird bad. Of course I'm spacing on the names of some of those good ones!

And if you need a pronunciation key for more than one name in a book it gets to be too much.

But I love different names, or else they just start to blend together.

mfay2 said...

I love weird names in books, specially in Dystopian. I mean Four in Divergent! I like the rare names, it makes the book a bit more interesting.

Casey (The Bookish Type) said...

I think it works with some points. The Renesmee thing was just madness, IMO, but Katniss and Prim and Peeta really worked with The Hunger Games world.

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