My friend and I were talking about names during a Biology lecture, and I decided to do a thing where I would list names that I liked inspired by certain themes, like books or mythology or science. Just thought it would be fun, and maybe if you were looking for a name for a pet or something this post could help. I’m not gonna do girl and guy names separately; it’s gonna be a mishmash of names.
1) Sorrel (Sarah Rayne, A Dark Dividing)
A bit of a morbid one, I suppose, but in the book, Sorrel is one of a pair of conjoined twins (Viola and Sorrel) born in 1900 who were sold to a “freak show” by their father. She was named Sorrel after the plant woodsorrel, and I always thought it was a very lovely-sounding, unique name. I associate it with images of the English countryside and clean air and bicycles.
2) Pip (Charles Dickens, Great Expectations)
While I wouldn’t necessarily name a child Pip, I think it’s an adorable name for a pet (a mouse/hamster/rat?) and a great nickname, especially for someone called Phillip (which is Pip’s actual name in the novel). Pip is an extremely flawed character- in fact, I found him hard to like, but through the novel, the reader kind of watches him grow and mature from an innocent child to misguided young adult to a sadder, but wiser man, and you end up loving him anyway. It’s an interesting journey.
3) Daenerys (George R. R. Martin, A Song of Ice and Fire)
Many people will probably be familiar with the name of Daenerys Targaryen, Mother of Dragons. She tames dragons. She’s amazing. Boom. Plus you can nickname someone with this name Dany which is really cute too.
4) Elinor and Marianne (Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility)
Two sisters, polar opposites, best friends. They go through a lot in the novel, and they go through it together. I think it would be nice for sisters, or even two pets who live together (for some reason, goldfish come to mind).
5) Kane (Rick Riordan, The Kane Chronicles)
Surname of the Kane siblings. They’re vessels for the Egyptian gods and goddesses, and their parents are Isis (kind of the queen goddess and supposedly the mother of every pharaoh) and Osiris (god of the dead/underworld). Cool stuff.
6) Nico (Rick Riordan, Percy Jackson)
Son of Hades. Need I say more?
6) Zosia (William Styron, Sophie’s Choice)
One of the main characters in the novel. She’s called Sophie, and her Polish nickname is Zosia. She’s a Polish concentration camp survivor, and is characterised as vivacious, sweet, funny and kind, but also extremely broken. It’s a highly interesting character. It’s pronounced Zoe-sha, which I think is very pretty.
7) Nemo (Jules Verne, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea)
No, this isn’t a Finding Nemo reference. Captain Nemo was the mysterious captain of the Nautlius, a gigantic submarine that sails all around the world. He is extremely knowledgeable about the ocean, and has renounced living on dry land in favour of living in the sea. Cute name for a pet, not so much for a human.
8) Scout (Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird)
Inquisitive, tomboyish narrator of one of the best novels ever written. We see the world of racism in a small town in 1960s America through her eyes.
I turned eighteen on the 27th. Didn’t do much on the day, but was surprised with a wonderful party by my friends at my house which was so touching.
Today, though, I decided to take myself on a little date and kinda just enjoy my own company for a bit. Also I wanted to get out of the house because I could slowly feel my skin grafting onto my bedsheets.
So my mum kindly drove me to this place in town with one of my favourite bookstores, Kinokuniya, armed with my Kanken bag and $100 in angpow money kindly given to me by my grandmother.
It was in a really upscale part of the city, and I didn’t really realise how underdressed I was until I stepped through the doors in slippers, a school shirt and shorts.
I decided to ignore this and headed straight to the bookstore and spent a solid two hours there, just reading and enjoying the books and the atmosphere in general.
Of course, I spent most of my $100 getting some books.
3/5 of them are by authors whose books I’ve never read before (with the exception of Jane Austen and Edgar Allen Poe), so quite happy.
I’ll do a little run-through of the books now.
Jane Austen, Mansfield Park
Jane Austen is one of my favourite writers- I mean, she’s up there with Dickens for me. In my opinion, she was a female writer ahead of her time- in a period of history where her sister authors were writing what were deprecatingly referred to as “novels”- a word that had very negative connotations because it referred to books that were considered “flighty” (basically, probably every romance novel today) and unworthy of being read by those who knew better, she wrote realistic and believable prose that managed to both separate itself from the over-romanticised and dramaticised love stories that saturated the market (think: The Monk) through its matter-of-fact portrayals of love and romance, while simultaneously supporting the rising genre of the “novel” which was not held in high esteem by the highly-educated and stiff-upper-lipped in English society. This is especially apparent in Northanger Abbey, which I am not ashamed to say I have read over twenty times.
Edgar Allen Poe, Tales of Horror
I believe there was another anthology of his called Tales of Something Else but I really can’t remember the name at the moment. It’s basically a collection of Poe’s short stories. I read some in comic version years ago in the children’s section of my library and I loved it, so I decided I would give it a try again in straight prose.
I’m someone who isn’t too fond of change, so I re-read the same books over and over again until they are literally in tatters. I just find it comforting to have the familiar plot play out, in the words that I’ve long memorised. Gives me a sense of security, I suppose, because in that few hours of reading I am absolutely sure of the future.
W. Somerset Maugham, The Merry-Go-Round
No idea who Maugham is, read the blurb, read the first paragraph, and decided I rather liked it and it was coming home with me.
N.B.: I was looking it up and I nearly got a heart attack when I read a review of the exact edition that I have which says that it’s not complete and the actual book is 400 pages long. Did I just get an abridged version? Quelle horreur!
Mark Haddon, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
It sounded like a very interesting premise, with a highly intelligent child and the murder of a dog involved. Although I am and can relate to neither of those elements in the novel, I found them very interesting and unique while still being realistic. I’m not usually one for high-fantasy or Sci-Fi or things like that, I like books that are based on and in real life on earth. Just personal preference, but I’m really trying to get into more fantasy novels lately like Lord of the Rings and the Song of Ice and Fire series. Plus I really liked Ready Player One which Booktube recommended to me. So I’m making progress!
Anthony Mara, The Tsar of Love and Techno
I’m actually super interested in both Russian culture and history so if I see the word “Tsar” on the cover of a book I’m definitely going to check it out.
Now, after enjoying one of my favourite meals (Vegetarian Aglio Olio from this pasta place called Once Upon a Thyme, $6), I read a bit of Mansfield Park and am now studying.
Some might call it a boring way to spend an eighteenth, but I’ve never been one for huge birthday bashes. I do appreciate them, but mostly for the time I get to hang out with friends. Personally, the idea of having a “Sweet Sixteenth” or a really crazy, alcohol-filled “legal” birthday celebration isn’t very necessary, if you’re having one just because the movies and pop culture told you to and not because you genuinely want to. But if you want to go ahead and make your birthday special, by all means! It’s just not really for me. Everyone has their own ways of celebrating.
Also, as I type, the sun is shining like crazy outside but it’s also raining. The person who came up with the idea to dub dark, cloudy, gloomy days “bad weather” has obviously never been in a sunshine-y thunderstorm, because those are the worst. In a normal thunderstorm you’re at least able to snuggle in your blanket and drink hot chocolate and be all poetic about the weather. But there’s nothing poetic about a sunshine-y thunderstorm. It’s just hot and wet and you can feel the humidity on your skin- the most accurate description I can come up of what being in a sunshine-y thunderstorm is like is, that it’s kinda like being doused by a bucket of lukewarm water while stepping into equally lukewarm puddles while wearing dry socks. Plus you’re inhaling steam with every breath. And you’re sweaty.
Basically, it really, really sucks.
Overall, though, it’s been an amazing day. I’m home now and I feel really happy and satisfied with what I did, and even if other people may not have chosen to spend their birthday/money on the same things that’s fine because spending some time alone made my birthday special to me.
I guess something I wanna say in this post is, don’t be afraid to hang out with yourself once in a while. If you don’t feel like you need to have an extravagant birthday party every year, if you don’t feel like you have to go out with 90278298 friends every time you leave the house, don’t do it just because it’s the “socially acceptable” thing to do.
And yes, there is a sort of- well, I won’t say stigma, but it’s more of an unwritten societal rule that it’s weird to hang out by yourself. It’s weird to walk into a restaurant and get a table and a fancy dinner for one. Passer-bys unconsciously give people who are sitting alone pitying looks. I felt weird the first time I decided to walk into a restaurant and get a table for one as well, but after a while I realised: if I’m so dependent on other people to have fun and be happy, can I really call myself a confident person?
Part of learning to love yourself is learning to be alone. Sure, some thrive on company and friends and I, being a more extroverted person, certainly do. I just think that we should be able to say, “I love my friends and am blessed and thankful to have them, but I don’t need the presence of others to find myself interesting, smart, clever, or to feel appreciated or wanted, because I as a person am inherently all of those things.”
So yeah! Some thoughts on my birthday date with myself. I hope this kind of inspires someone to take themselves out as well! Let me know if you do end up trying it 🌸