I'm reading a review copy of Anne Heller's forthcoming biography of Ayn Rand, which so far appears to be meticulously researched and fairminded. One tidbit I'll share with Rand-watchers: Heller surmises that the the most likely source for Rand's adopted first name (Rand was born Alice Rosenbaum in Russia, Ayn Rand was the name she adopted in the U.S.) is the Hebrew word "Ayin" ("eye"). Rand's father apparently had a Russian/Hebrew/Yiddish pet name for her which started with "Ayin" and meant "bright eyes." And everyone who met Rand remarks that the first thing you noticed about her was her eyes, so it makes sense.
Ayn Rand Tidbit: