sleeping baby wearing glassesThe best books are often the best place to find seriously clever name ideas. (The littlest literature lovers have known that since their days of sneaking in extra reading time with a flashlight under the covers!) So take a cue from college English majors across the land and snag one of these literary gems for your kid.

Ophelia, Viola, Katherine, Horatio, Mercutio, Claudius
Who else but Bill Shakespeare himself could give us great literature and great names (and a love of iambic pentameter)?

Atticus, Scarlett, Maggie, Huck, Stella
Southern literature is rife with metaphors, sense of place and awesome names. The most celebrated authors from down South have some pretty cool monikers, too. Think: Eudora, Faulkner, Flannery, Truman.

Jane
Jane Austen and Jane Eyre are proof positive that Jane is always smart and sometimes sassy, and she can outwit anyone who thinks he is better than she is. Just ask Mr. Darcy. (Which ain’t a half-bad name itself.)

Mark, Twain
You know humor, and so will your child if you expose him to the best of American humorous writing. He’ll either end up winning his own Twain Prize or getting damn good at whitewashing a fence. Either way.

Ulysses
Ulysses is one of the most important novels ever written in the English language. Just ask any English teacher. What? You never finished it? Your secret’s safe with us …

Toni, Maya, Zora
Toni Morrison and Maya Angelou may be household names, but true lit buffs appreciate Zora Neale Hurston as the queen of the Harlem Renaissance that she was.

Anton, Fyodor, Kafka
Many lit professors can’t shake the hold of Eastern European greats, so why should you? These names command respect … and maybe a little bit of existential angst, but he’s gonna do that at 15, anyway.

Byron, Dante, Keats
If poetry is more your bag, try these positively lyrical names on for size. Or go for a twofer like Langston Hughes or Elizabeth Barrett.

Got a brilliant baby name idea for this list? Add it to the comments below!