To which the Change it! Change it! Change it! voices got louder. (Which may or may not have been because her name just really needed to be changed.)
I guess there's two ways of looking at the popular name lists.
1. A lot of people LOVE seeing their name (or even the name of someone they know) in print. If you have a character with their name, chances are they are going to relate the character that much more. If you choose a popular name, there's going to be a lot more people experiencing that. (And with the speed of publishing, those kids who were born this year... might be old enough to read when your book comes out. ;))
2. The name stands out less. It's not unique. It's not different. It's not as easy to remember. (And if you're writing first person, the MC's name is going to be harder to remember by is nature.)
So if you are choosing TO name a character with a popular name or of you're choosing NOT to name a character with a popular name, here's the list in all it's glory, taken from msn's site (where they talk about patterns a lot more, if you're interested).
Top Baby Names of 2011
And just because I found it interesting, this bit from the article: "This year it’s all about two letters: A and N. For girls, the top five names all end with –a: Sophia, Emma, Isabella, Olivia and Ava. On the boys’ side, the –n ending ruled five of the top eight: Aiden, Jackson, Mason, Jayden and Ethan."
Do you choose names more on the popular side, or less?