January RandomCAT -- Your name in print
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The big sister said, Once upon a time, there was a----
----princess, the little sister said.
Rabbit, the big sister said.
Rabbit princess, the little sister said.
-- Lauren Groff, "Dogs Go Wolf", from Florida.
Isn't it weird seeing your name, or the name of someone you know, in a book? For this challenge, read a book where a character (or the author) has the same name as you or someone you know. It can be first name, middle name, or last name. It can be the name of a famous person you've met. It can be an actual person you know who's been interviewed for (or is the subject of) a non-fiction book. It could be someone you know who's written a book! Have fun stretching the parameters of this challenge!
And feel free to come back any time during the year, not just in January, if you happen to come across someone you know in your reading later in 2019 :)
(Hat tip to RidgewayGirl for sending me the quote up top, which is what inspired this challenge)
I have a few relatives with the last name of McNally, so I'll continue my re-read of the Archy McNally detective series with McNally's Caper, by Lawrence Sanders.
Unfortunately, my book club isn't reading The Underground Railroad until February. The villain in that book is named Ridgeway. But if I don't find something else, I can always read Reasons She Goes to the Woods by Deborah Kay Davies. We share a middle name. Or something by Alison Lurie or Alison Gaylin (we share the same first name).
I'm glad that the finding of a rabbit princess in literature tickled you as much as it did me when I spotted it.
>3 RidgewayGirl: I fully endorse counting books for the January RandomCAT in February if they fit the parameters ;)
I have a few books in mind for this one. Where'd you go Bernadette by Maria Semple because my sister is named Bernadette. My sister gave me a book this past year with my first name in it, but I cannot remember the name of the whole book. I just remember it having Monica in the title. I believe the book is Killing Monica by Candace Bushnell. I just need to find the book.
>2 rabbitprincess: my maiden name is McNally, which is not a very common name. Maybe some of your relatives are some of my relatives.
I thought that quote was where you got your online name! Now I’m wondering where rabbitprincess came from.
>4 dudes22: Excellent!
>6 clue: Ooh, a double play! Nice!
>7 crazy4reading: Wow, Bernadette isn't that common a name, so that is very cool. I hope you can find the book with your own name in the title; that would make an interesting pairing of books.
>8 raidergirl3: "rabbit princess" was part of a nickname for my first rabbit. Very long story ;)
>9 LittleTaiko: Nice! We have a Keith in our family as well.
I know one author with my last name, but I'm not a fan. Not sure about my first name. Hard to find which books will have a character with my name, but I'll see what I can come up with!
Love this one! Do different spellings of a name count? I have just "discovered" the Mary Russell series by Laurie R. King so thinking of dipping into book 2 in the series.
My bookclub is reading The Name of the Rose in January, and if I remember rightly, one of the main characters is William of Baskerville, and William is one of my middle names.
I've also got quite a few Roberts and Michaels on my TBR shelves, but no Greaves, alas.
Does it need to share your current name or could I (finally) read a book my mother wrote - we used to share a surname until I got married and ditched it (no-one could ever spell it!).
>13 Robertgreaves: closest I could get would be Robert Graves, but he's missing a letter. What's an "e" between friends though.
I'll be reading Curtsies and Conspiracies by Gail Carriger. My middle name is Gail.
I'm torn. This might be the perfect chance to finally read Kelly: More Than My Share of It All by Kelly Johnson, aeronautical and systems engineer, who designed many of Lockheed's famous aircraft. Multiple people - mainly engineers- have asked me if I was named after him. I was not. I have had his autobiography on my wish list for many years now. However; I'm in a reading funk and doubt I'll be wanting to read about aircraft design any time soon.
I may try a re-read of Little, Big, the book from which I took the name Violet Bramble.
>21 VioletBramble: Both of those sound great! And as someone who almost never reads CAT books in their assigned month, I totally think you can count the Kelly Johnson book for this challenge. Also, totally adding that to my own to-read list :)
>1 rabbitprincess: What a great idea. I love the quotation in your opener!
However. my first reaction was dismay - the chances of "Vivienne" in print would be a rarity. A quick LT search found a George Gently mystery Gently where she lay by Alan Hunter that was originally titled Vivienne - Gently where she lay.
>23 VivienneR: That's why I expanded it to middle name, surname, or the name of someone you know :) My real name hardly ever appears in stories, and if it does, it's spelled wrong :-/
>19 rabbitprincess: I'd like to pick something out just in case that doesn't happen, but yes, if I come across something, that would be great!
(And I really do try to read them in the month "assigned"!)
This is easy-peasy for me as my surname is HOLMES. I have read all of the Sherlock canon but he appears in so many other books by various authors.
>24 rabbitprincess: I know how you feel about your misspelled name. The only place I see my name spelled correctly is here on LT or on official mail. It's funny to see greetings cards arrive with my name having corrections scribbled on top of each other.
Who knew? So many choices once I started thinking about this. I am currently reading the first in the Tana Woods, Dublin Murder Squad series, In the Woods. The two detectives have commonalities with two of my children (Adam (son) aka Rob and Cassie (daughter)). So if I am ready for it, I'll move on to another in the series, maybe The Likeness. If not, I have read only one Louise Penny and her first name is my middle so that would move me forward in that series, A Fatal Grace I'm sure there are many others, but its hard to know the character names until you jump into the book or do the research on one in your TBR.
>28 beebeereads: You could choose a display of "Your Books" that includes "People/characters" from Common Knowledge.
I've never seen anyone with my name spelled the way I do in a book. The only Traci I know of is Traci Lords, and as fascinating as her life might be, I think I'd pass on reading a book about her if there is such a thing. I did, however, go very traditional when naming my own children, so I may have more luck with one of them: Brandon, Emma, and Henry. I'll have to do some poking around in my library and see what I can come up with.
>30 virginiahomeschooler: - There is an author I read whose name is Traci DePree. Her books are characterized and tagged as Christian fiction which I know some people don't like to read. I found them a nice story.
>30 virginiahomeschooler: Emma Woodhouse's father's name was Henry. Two for the price of one :-)
When I was growing up, there were very few Allisons although in the past 30 years or so, the name has become much more popular. Still, most women spell Alison the feminine way with one L. Mine is spelled the "masculine" way with two LLs. I was amazed to find 4 female Allisons (as their first names) spelled with 2 LLs when searching for "authors named Allison" on the web.
(Actually, I think that Allison is no longer used very often for a man's first name. I was named after my grandfather, whom I never knew; he was nearly 90 years older than me since he was 48 or 49 when my father was born, and my father was nearly 40 years older than me.)
Thus, I will be introduced to a new-for-me author for this challenge.
>34 sallylou61: Well, I learned something new! I never knew Allison was a man's name at all! (And I always assume it's spelled with two Ls!)
I have on my shelves a slim mystery by someone I know from a non literary context. Perfect for this challenge.
I have a close friend in a Monica Ferris book I have read. I read it years ago and will have to find it again.
>39 virginiahomeschooler: - I just thought of a comparison. I found the books similar to the Gail Fraser Lumby series, if that gives you an idea.
I wish I had not already read both of Kate Southwood's published novels. Our names have nothing in common but we were friends in graduate school (she was working on her MFA while I earned my doctorate in psychology) and had many evenings of enjoying Irish whiskey and conversation. I think that would count for this challenge.
I'm planning on reading Still Alice by Lisa Genova, which was given to me by my good friend Lisa.
>34 sallylou61:, >35 LibraryCin:, >48 LittleTaiko:, >50 LisaMorr: . Here's what Wikipedia has under the heading Alison (spelled with one L), under the subheading popularity: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alison_(given_name)
The name is first recorded in Scotland in the 12th century. It was popular until the early 19th century and, spelled Allison, was the 45th most common name given to baby girls in the United States in 2005 (Allyson was #253; Alison, #259; Alyson, #468; Allie, #256; Ally, #656; and Alice, #414).4 In 1990 in the United States, Allison was the 228th most popular name for women of all ages; Alison was #347, Allyson, #775; Alyson, #981; Allie, #764; Ali, #2434; and Alice, #51.5 Alison in any spelling did not enter the top 100 baby names in 2005 in England and Wales.6
Allison last entered the top 1000 baby names for males in the United States in 1946, when it ranked #968. In the 1910s it ranked from 667 to 981 with an average of #835, and in the first decade of the 20th century, it ranked as high as #927.7
4 Popular Names by Birth Year: Dec 2007 Ssa.gov
5 "Most Common Female Names in the U.S." mongabay.com.
6"Most Popular Names for Births in England and Wales 2005". behindthename.com
7 Campbell, Mike (2012). "Popularity for ALLISON in the United States, percent Used, Male". Behind the Name: the etymology and history of first names. Retrieved 31 August 2013.
In the body of the article, it lists 23 females with the name of Alison and 3 with Allison (if I counted correctly) and in a separate list of males, 3 American men spelled with 2 LLs and 4 Brazilian footballers with various spellings. The females are all from English speaking countries.
This might be more than you ever wanted to know about the name!
Recently, it seems to me, that some people have been naming babies with "unusual" names, sometimes with original spellings.
>51 sallylou61: Growing up, I first met another Alison when I was a teenager and she spelled her name Allyson. My name was constantly misspelled to have 2 Ls. That and an insult from my grandfather, had me switch to going by my middle name in high school (the year I got breasts, he nicknamed me "Big Al." It was not appreciated).
True story: I once knew someone called Alison who married a guy whose surname was Allison.
I was going to give this challenge a miss, but I've wanted to read Jackie Kay's Red Dust Road for a while so I'm thinking about getting it with my Christmas money from my parents. Over on the ROOTs group I even had someone ask me if I *was* Jackie Kay (I wish I wrote like her!!!).
>52 RidgewayGirl: . I hated being call "Al" when I was growing up. Using my middle name, Louise, was not an option since it was my mother's name. When I left home for boarding school in senior high, I picked Sally Lou as a nickname. I used it through my first two years of college (at a small college). When I transferred to a large university, I went back to Allison, which I have used all my adult life except for LibraryThing.
When I created my log-in for LibraryThing, I didn't remember I had used Sally Lou at college and added the year I graduated from high school in my log-in.
>51 sallylou61: That is interesting! I'm in Canada, but obviously for the name Allison, we are more influenced by the US, with the more common female name with 2 Ls!
Aha! I can read the Ramona books, by Beverly Cleary. My cousin is named Beverly.
>59 LibraryCin: I had a really hard time finding anything with Cheryl, my first name, or my last name.
>60 LadyoftheLodge: Not sure if you like memoirs, or Dancing with the Stars, but my head immediately went to Cheryl Burke, who I believe has written a memoir. :-) Not likely everyone's "thing", though!
The Darkness Knows by Cheryl Honigford - murder mystery set in 1930s Chicago. It would also fit the amateur detective category I read somwhere (was it in the Pop Sugar Challenge?)
Wild by Cheryl Strayed - recently divorced, Cheryl decides to hike the Pacific Crest Trail alone. It was made into a movie with Reese Witherspoon. This has been on my TBR list for a while!
Life is But a Dream: On The Lake by Cheryl Shireman - first in a series. Apparently a romantic/mystery/thriller. Looks like a light read.
There is also an author called Cheryl Holt - her books all have bare-chested men on the front!
My first name is uncommon, but an author search for it resulted in an avalanche of erotica, not my thing. I looked elsewhere using my grandfather’s surname and got a possibility. Maybe I can find it through the library system?
>66 fuzzi: Hope the library system can help you out! Also, I think you're going to have to write a book in a different genre to counteract the erotica ;)
>68 fuzzi: hahaha!
Earlier this month I met someone with the same first name...only the third time in almost 60 years.
My name actually came from characters in a book that my mother read shortly before I was born. I haven't read the book, although I own a copy, so this may give me the nudge to finally read it. A Prologue to Love by Taylor Caldwell.
>69 cbl_tn: And I'll add that I am glad I thought of asking my mother which book my name came from before she died. My father would not have known the answer to that question!
I'll probably read Tai-Pan by James Clavell as my father, brother, husband, and son all have James as a first name. (My father and husband use Jim, my brother James, and my son is Mitch for his middle name.) Also that book may well be my oldest book that I never got around to reading getting me a double!
I'll probably read The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan. My father's name is John.
Search doesn't appear to be working for me, at least not for names. I tried the shortened form of my first name and my legal first name. Then selected Authors from the left menu. Also tried selecting Common Knowledge, hoping a character might come up. Nothing.
Also tried both of those for my last name, and I KNOW something should have come up. Lots of somethings by the same author Rudy Wiebe. I do not want to read something by him (I haven't liked what I have read by him), but I hoped maybe to find another author with the name. Nothing came up under author or common knowledge for that, either. :-(
>74 LibraryCin: try a web search instead of an LT search...LT has been buggy the last few days.
Since I love James Baldwin's work, and since I want to see If Beale Street Could Talk at the cinema, I'm going to read this one for January.
It's the B in my username. :-)
I've tentatively chosen The Mill in the Floss since my father's name is George.
>75 fuzzi: Thank you! I will give that a try!
ETA: I guess I like to try here first to see if there is already something on my tbr. It's more obvious here!
Just to confirm: knowing the author counts here? A college friend that I have kept in touch with is writing a series of novels based on her family history in the middle peninsula area of Virginia. Confederate Like Me was her first book and I haven't had a chance to read it.
>79 witchyrichy: Of course! That's definitely seeing the name of someone you know in print :)
I'm reading Longarm and the Sins of Laughing Lyle. Lyle is my given name. Lyle ho-ho's his way through a life of sinister crimes in the Old West beginning with robbing a bank, locking the employees and customers inside, and setting fire to the building. I read this to see if the name would elicit some special reaction on my part, but it doesn't seem to do so, perhaps because the character is not developed in any way other than as an unambiguous villain. I had never heard of any series before with over 400 books, so Longarm must have had fans.
...Where are the saintly Lyle's of the world?
My book group is meeting to discuss The Underground Railroad this month, so I'm rereading that as I read it back in 2016, when it first came out and want to refresh my memory. The worst person (in a book with plenty of terrible people) is named Ridgeway, which I resent, but it does fit this CAT nicely.
I've finished my selection!
Viking's Dawn by Henry Treece (my middle name is Dawn)
Young Harald and his father, Sigurd, sign up to travel with Thorkell Fairhair on his ship, The Nameless. Harald's father is injured and must be left behind, but Harald voyages with Thorkell and his colorful band of Vikings, meeting with adventures and misfortunes all along the way.
This one was more engaging and entertaining than I suspected it would be. For a children's book, it doesn't sugarcoat Viking life and the ending is bittersweet, which is refreshing, to be honest.
>92 JayneCM: Tucking that nugget away for later, in case I decide to continue with the story... Thanks!
>93 scaifea: It is only the 4th day of 2019 and I am already desperately battling against my 'not buying any new books this year' plan as I so want to get the Viking Saga now! Maybe I will get lucky and see it secondhand somewhere - fingers crossed.
>98 JayneCM: I've gotten some great deals through Ebay, and their guarantee policies are SO much better than Amazon's.
I also recommend bookfinder.com!
I have completed See How Small by Scott Blackwood for this month's RandomCat. My last name and the author's first name are a match.
I found an author who shares my first name (Donan Berg)-- amazing as I've never met a person who shares my first name. Sadly, the writing is not good. Should I finish the book because of the amazing name sharing or give up to find something better?!
>105 donan: I think this challenge is meant to be fun and/or rewarding. If reading that book is neither, I suggest you give it up or just skim the rest of it!
>105 donan: Also, I feel like you can still count it for the challenge even if you don't finish it!
>105 donan: Yes to abandoning it! That's a shame that the writing didn't live up to the awesomeness of finding your name in print.
I have reread Glitterland by Alexis Hall which has a character with my first name, and The Magpie Lord by KJ Charles which has a character with my second name (the character's first name). I still like both books extremely. Of course I am cheating by reading books I know are good instead of taking a risk on an unknown, this time...
Edit: Also I just noticed that all these books in the NARC series by Mel Keegan have a character called Mischa, which is my dog's name. The dog was named after a character from a different series though.
Finished The House by Christina Lauren--Lauren is my middle name. This isn't at all what I expected, and I can't say that I actually enjoyed a whole lot of it. There was a great, creepy concept at its heart, but it was more about YA Romance and flirting than the horror that the blurb/cover advertised. Full review (um, rant?) written...
I share my last name with this author (and I was happily surprised to see that she is also Canadian!):
The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant / Joanna Wiebe
Anne is being sent to a private school across the country from her California home, on an island in New England. It’s a school with mostly rich kids, so Anne isn’t sure how her dad managed to pull some strings to get her in. However he managed it, she’s hoping for a fresh start with other kids who don’t know her. But, when she arrives, there is something very odd about this school… She is heartened to find someone she knew from California is also there, though, and he seems to be the only person interested in being friends.
I really enjoyed this! Yeah, many of the characters were unlikeable, but they’re teenagers. That didn’t bother me. I was interested and curious to find out what the heck was going on at this school! There were a few surprises along the way, though at least one of them I guessed very shortly before it was revealed, anyway. Unfortunately, it’s one of those books that ended on a cliffhanger. I’m not a big fan of that, but I was hoping, as I read, that it would be the first in a series, and it looks like it’s a trilogy. I will definitely pick up the next book.
I read Red Dust Road by my namesake Jackie Kay - it was a 5* read, I wish I shared her writing talent as well as her name and initial! :D It's her memoir of growing up adopted in Scotland, and her search for her birth parents, which took her from the Scottish highlands to a small village in eastern Nigeria. It was wonderful, highly recommended.
Edited to add: I've just tried to add this to the wiki, but got a 504 Gateway timeout message. I'll try again later.
>114 Jackie_K: I saw your review and am taking a BB for this! Looks great.
I am reading The Darkness Knows by Cheryl Honigford. The book showed up in the pile of mail I had to sort out after returning from a trip. Thanks to my friends here who recommended it to me!
>116 LadyoftheLodge: Hope you enjoy it! I just thought of it as I love the cover and it is 1930s! Can't wait to read your review.
I reread The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead. There's a very bad man, a slave catcher, called Ridgeway. It's not a great way to see one's internet name in print, but there it is.
That said, this second time around, Ridgeway was a more nuanced character than the first time. Still terrible and gross, but less one-dimensional.
I found a book to read with a very close approximation to mine. Young Artists Draw Manga (Christopher Hart's Young Artists Draw by Christopher Hart.
I finished Still Alice today by Lisa Genova - very good book about a 50-yr old woman diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's Disease.
I thought it would be a quick read but instead Vivienne - Gently Where She Lay by Alan Hunter is a slow read, not much happening. It's a good cure for insomnia because I keep falling asleep. The creator of the tv series, with Gently played by Martin Shaw, did an amazing job of the series with little to start with.
I've finished What We Keep by Elizabeth Berg. My given name is Elizabeth. Not as thrilled by this one as some of her other books.
COMPLETED The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
I've started listening to The Burgess Boys since that is my last name/maiden name. Hooray for getting to a book that's been on my shelf in print form for several years!
Although we had a long discussion about the names Alison/Allison (numbers 34, 35,48,50-54, 56) on this thread, I ended up using my middle name Louise for this challenge. Louise was also my mother's, mother-in-law's, and husband's aunt's name. I read Glass Houses by Louise Penny, a tbr book which I have had since last summer.
I finally finished The Darkness Knows by Cheryl Honigford. There were some slow parts in the middle of the novel, but I really enjoyed the setting and time period (1930's Chicago, live radio stars).
>127 sallylou61: My middle name is Louise as well. I have just started A Fatal Grace by Louse Penny. I was late to the party on her mysteries. I am a "start at the beginning" series reader so I have years ahead of me.
I am nearly finished with The Great Halifax Explosion where one of the survivors was named Barbara. This will be my read for the Reading Through Time challenge and I will write more there once the book is completed.
>127 sallylou61: >129 beebeereads: I was "late" to those books last year, though I read, I think, books 4 and 6 out of order, after which it became clear that it is best to read the series IN order! So I quickly read all the books after 6 in order, except the most recent ones which I will get to later. They are pretty addictive. :)
I have completed City by Clifford D. Simak who shares his first name with my favorite brother-in-law.
I read Death in the Blue Lake by André Bjerke. Bjerke was a Norwegian poet who wrote 4 mysteries in the 1940s; this one is the only one translated into English. Bjerke is a family name and indeed I feel a little nit of a thrill as it's an unusual name in the US.
Death in the Blue Lake is a great mystery story. I haven't made up my mind how I feel about the solution, but it is a virtuoso performance. Four stars.
Starting Queer City by Peter Ackroyd. My childhood teddy bear (who I still have) is called Peter.
I read Proven Guilty by Jim Butcher - book eight in his Dresden Files series. To my great delight, there was a character named Nelson in this one - Nelson was my Dad's name, and this is his birthday month, so a bit of serendipity there.
Just started The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien. These connected short stories have a character with my name, Kathleen.
>133 Robertgreaves: That's a great idea! I also still have my childhood teddy bear, but I don't think there are very many authors called Big Ted around.
I finished Ich freue mich, dass ich geboren bin by Birgit Vanderbeke who is very much the same age as me. The first-person narrator is an amazingly sharp observer for a seven year old.
>137 Jackie_K: I had a Big Ted as well! He is 4 ft tall and orange/white and, these days, sits in my study by my desk.
>133 Robertgreaves: A wonderful idea. I still have my two childhood companions but I have heard of no authors named either Table Table (at the tender age of four, I was already a weirdo) or Rooster (self-explanatory).
I've read Emsworth's Plum a short work looking at PG Wodehouse's time in my home village. This was written by my mum, with whom I used to share a surname. >:-)
Starting The Last Templar by Michael Jecks. Michael is my other middle name.
I also read two Sherlock Holmes mysteries this month. John Watson is a major character in both. My father's name is John.
I finished The Mine, an atmospheric and suspenseful mystery/thriller set in Finland by Antti Tuomainen. I bought this a few years ago at Bouchercon, and rabbitprincess might remember the circumstances, as she was with me at the time.
After hearing the author speak at a panel, I was at a bookseller's booth with the novel in my hand, thinking that I really didn't need to buy more books that day. I opened the book to a random page, saw my name there (actually "Pauliina" with an extra "i", but close enough), and decided that I did need to get it after all, given that my name appears so infrequently in books!
>148 mathgirl40: Yes! I remember that well! Great choice for this challenge.
I didn't realize until after I had finished it that Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel fits for me here. One of the characters is named Eva wich is the name of my grandmother and a niece. I guess it didn't register while I was listsening because they were using the Spanish pronounciation. I'm also working ono another that fits, but won't finish it today, The Man Who Loved Children by Christina Stead. My sister is named Christina Josephine, besides the author's name, one of the character's full name is Josephine, but she is referred to as Jo most of the time.
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