12 Bold, Bookish Baby/Pet Names for BOYS

Best lit baby names boys collageIs your bookshelf an untapped gold mine of fabulous baby or pet names–for a boy?

Yes, yes, it is, dear reader! I love nothing more than a baby name list, so I thought it was high time to delve into the brightest and the best naming possibilities from the best-loved books–for BOYS. Some of these names appear in my 2008 baby name book “A is for Atticus: Baby Names from Great Books,” while others have just recently struck my fancy.

Fellow book addict, here’s hoping this list will inspire you to pick the perfect name for your baby boy (girl’s list here), or male kitten, puppy or hedgehog (we have a hedgehog named Spike, named by the then ten-year-old, I can assure you! I would have named him Hagrid or Clive or Nigel or some cheeky British nugget).


I hope you will enjoy all the fun little literary tidbits herein as much as I relished curating them!



Best lit baby names girls Antonio

From A is for Atticus: “Antonio is all flashing dark eyes and mysterious depths of the soul.” In “Twelfth Night,” Captain Antonio rescues Sebastian from a shipwreck and remains his loyal friend thereafter.

By the way, I am on a big Twelfth Night kick! Just went to Stratford, Ontario, for a fabulous two day reunion with my high school buddy. She snagged us great seats for Twelfth Night, and we laughed and laughed. An effervescent two and a half hours, if you get the chance to see this production.

The playbill’s description: “Shipwrecked twins, a lovesick duke and a self-important servant who becomes the ultimate fashion victim: love throws everyone for a loop in a comic riot of misdirected desire.” 

Since I’m on a kick, let’s throw in Sebastian while we’re at it:



Sebastian was Viola’s loyal twin brother, one of literature’s most wonderful depiction of the bond that exists between twins. I absolutely loved the Sebastian in this play! And the Viola, too. Sarah Afful and Michael Blake were both outstanding in their roles.

As far as the name, Here’s what the gurus at Nameberry had to say:  “Sebastian is an ancient martyr’s name turned literary, and Little Mermaid hero–think Sebastian the Crab–that’s entered the Top 25…”


Beckett (Irish playwrite Samuel Beckett, of “Waiting for Godot” fame)

Best lit baby names boys Beckett




Of course, I think here of Gus and his one true love, Hazel Grace of “The Fault in Our Stars” fame. I had “Gus” under Gustave, as in Flaubert, in ‘Atticus’, but I think Augustus sounds waaaaay younger and cooler, don’t you? August is very cool, too, and either way you get gussied-up Gus.

Holden from “The Catcher in the Rye”

Best lit baby names boys Holden

Dashiell (as in Hammett, the author of gumshoe detective stories such as “The Maltese Falcon”)

best lit baby names boys Dashiell

Could any nickname be zestier than Dash? So cute, and handsome, too. Cate Blanchett has one, and so does my friend Heather! Let’s not forget Dash Incredible, of “The Incredibles”! Love this zippy, elegant name, but who is brave enough (besides Cate and Heather) to use it?

Langston (as in Hughes, the poet and playwrite)

Best lit baby names boys Langston


best lit baby names boys Atticus

Nobility, thy name is Atticus! Every time I read To Kill a Mockingbird or see the play (my own Ezra played an angry townsperson in 9th grade. The play went second in the state for Michigan’s one-act competition), I am struck anew by how deep the justice ran in Atticus Finch’s veins. What a handsome, vibrant, vigorous, and noble name! I would totally name a kid Atticus, if I were having more kids, which I am definitely not! Atticus is on the rise, too. From being off the top 1,000 for a century, it’s now number 350, the perfect spot for someone who wants a potent, unusual name with loads of meaning.

 Winfield from “The Grapes of Wrath”

Best lit baby names boys Winfield

Gilbert from “Anne of Green Gables”

Anne Lifestyle cover

I think we all know how I feel about Gilbert Blythe. Many of you feel the same way. I would love to see Gilbert rise as a baby name, obviously. It was a top 100 name in 1920, so it should be making a comeback soon. A young couple I know was toying with it as a tribute to my Gil, and also the young father to be’s father’s Dutch name, Gijsbert! They went with Peter, a grand choice, but, but, but…I’m still pining for Gilbert. (This just in: Friends in Pennsylvania named their baby GOAT Gilbert!!! Is that not the perfect name for an outstanding young goat?)

 Cash from “As I Lay Dying” by William Faulkner

Best lit baby names boys Cash

Finnick from “Catching Fire”

Best lit baby names boys Finnick

 I have loved the name Finn since the 11th grade, when we had the dreamiest German exchange student arrive on our shores, bearing that name! He wore lovely sweaters and played the classical guitar! If Finnegan and Finley and Finney (my son’s middle name, after his great-grandfather Doyle Finney) don’t strike your fancy, why not go all District 4 with Finnick? He was, after all, played by Sam Claflin in the movie. I mean, what more do you want?

 What names have caught your Name Freak ears these days? What’s your favorite character name from a book? Do tell! There’s nothing better than a humdinger of a baby name conversation!


  1. Mary Rozendal says

    Our cat was named Tabitha Ruth Wexler Rozendal (Tabby for short) after Turtle Wexler’s full name. She’s the main character in The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin. My brother, a big To Kill a Mockingbird fan, named two of his dogs after characters in that book: Scout, who was a female black lab, and Boo, who is a white German Shepherd. Oh, and my current dog is named Elizabeth Darcy Rozendal (Lizzie) after that famous heroine in Pride and Prejudice. I love book character names!

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