Random header image... Refresh for more!

That Time the ChickieNob and I Had a Conversation About Names

Melissa: Hey ChickieNob.

ChickieNob: Hi.

Melissa: So I got this book.  You know I normally don’t do book reviews, but when they asked me to review Bruce Lansky’s 100,000+ Baby Names, I jumped on it.  Not because I hope you have a baby right now, but because we are both huge lovers of names, naming things, and writing characters into our stories with good names.  I mean, I hope you have a baby in the future if you want one, but… like… not right now at 11.  And I’m sure you’ll let me name it if you do have a baby, right?

ChickieNob: I think I get to name it.

Melissa: Nope, I get to name it.

ChickieNob: No, actually I get to name it.

Melissa: Well, we’ll cross that bridge when the times comes.  So give me a good name from the book.

ChickieNob: A girl’s name or a boy’s?

Melissa: Let’s start with a girl’s name.

ChickieNob: How about Paris?

Melissa: What does it mean?

ChickieNob: It’s a geographical name.  So it’s obviously French.

Melissa: That name makes me think about Paris Hilton and her tiny dog.

ChickieNob: That name makes me think of the Eiffel Tower.

Melissa: Give me a different name.  That name isn’t working for me.

ChickieNob: How about Helsa?  It’s Danish.  And it’s a form of Elizabeth.

Melissa: That’s a pretty cool name.  You wouldn’t mess with a Helsa.  You want Helsa on your side because she makes the best butter cookies.  But she’s also pretty sensitive, and if you piss her off, she won’t give you any.

ChickieNob: I wasn’t really thinking of Helsa like that.

Melissa: What was your Helsa?

ChickieNob: My Helsa is this tough, Ginny Weasley type of girl.  It’s really hard to get her to cry.  It is!  She never cries.

Melissa: I could make her cry.

ChickieNob: (ignoring me) And then there’s a boy’s name.  Anpu.  Which is Egyptian and it means G-d of Death.  It’s a pretty good name if you’re making a dystopia novel.

Melissa: My Anpu could kick your Anpu’s bum.

ChickieNob: Really?  My Anpu is a ruler.  So I don’t think so.

Melissa: What is the best thing about this book?

ChickieNob: The fact that there are so many names.  There are also lists in the front of the most popular names or names from television shows or famous people’s children.  There are a lot of lists.

Melissa: What’s the most popular name in China?

ChickieNob: Right now?  It’s Bo for a girl and Chen for a boy.

Melissa: Good names, too.  Bo more than Chen.  Who would you buy this book for?

ChickieNob: I’d buy it for writers.  You need good character names.  The meaning has to express who the person is.  I mean, parents might want it so they can name their kids.

Melissa: Like me!  I’m going to get to name your child in the future.

ChickieNob: No, you’re not.  Actually.

Melissa: We’ll see.

ChickieNob: No, we’re not going to see.  It’s not going to happen.

Melissa: (to the reader) So yes, if you are a writer and have to name characters this just may be the greatest book in the world.  We loved it so much that we even took it to the beach so we could peruse names while on the sand.  It’s that good.  And completely replaces the not-as-cool baby name book (only 5000 names) that I bought during my MFA program.  So thank you, Mr. Lansky, for collecting up so many great names.

So what are your favourite names?  Give us one.

Side note: Tomorrow is #MicroblogMondays.  Get writing!


1 KeAnne { 08.30.15 at 7:40 am }

I may have to get that book. I bought a baby name book for naming characters when I was a teenager and it is still fun to read.

We used our agreed-upon favorite boy name, but our favorite girl name is Jane. Probably Jane Elizabeth. I always liked Anna, but with our last name it sounds like a German barmaid. Audrey, Josephine, Katherine, Alexandra…I could do this all day ! My cousin named her 3rd child Arya, and I wonder how that name will feel 20 years from now.

2 Mali { 08.30.15 at 8:30 am }

Two things from this past not related to names.
1. The twins are 11 already?!
2. “I could make her cry.” You’re scary!

3 Mali { 08.30.15 at 8:30 am }

Two things from this past not related to names.
1. The twins are 11 already?!
2. “I could make her cry.” You’re scary!

4 April { 08.30.15 at 8:36 am }

My favorite name for a girl is Ivy Abigail and for a boy is Paul Thomas. We had chosen these for babies years ago. We never used them, but I still love them.

5 Charlotte { 08.30.15 at 9:35 am }

First, thank you for this review! It couldn’t have come more timely as we don’t have a name for this baby picked out yet. We need a boys name and a girl’s name since we don’t know the gender. All the lists I have found online just suck. I just ordered this book, thanks also for the link!
Second, I don’t like most people’s kids but I would totally hang out with yours! Seriously, Chickienob is so cool. I agree with how she pictures Helsa, because that’s how I pictured her, too. And it’s a really cool name!
I hope as she gets older, Chickienob doesn’t let anyone change her because she is seriously one cool, kick-butt little lady!?

6 Mina { 08.30.15 at 9:42 am }

My favorite names? Morge and Phtebie, of course. ?
One boy name that I really liked, but did not work out, was Eric. And my ghost child is a girl called Olive. I love Olive to bits, I do.

7 Chickenpig { 08.30.15 at 9:44 am }

So many names….so few babies, or book characters. I love Anpu! That name is so cool. I can’t wait to read Chickie’s book. I think Helsa and Anpu are a young princess and prince of warring kingdoms who don’t want to fight each other. And I think that Anpu can make Helsa cry. Anpu’s kingdom is a hot place where very little grows. Helsa’s kingdom is cold and dark half of the year. The book is full of angst. 😉

8 Middle Girl { 08.30.15 at 10:04 am }

Isadore for a boy. (Isador*a*) for a girl.

Zander for a boy. Aja for a girl.

To name a few. 😉

9 Lori Lavender Luz { 08.30.15 at 11:22 am }

Oooh, I like what Middle Girl suggests: “Zander for a boy. Aja for a girl. ”

You and ChickieNob crack me up. I can so see this happening in my mind.

10 loribeth { 08.30.15 at 4:15 pm }

I have been fascinated by names ever since I was ChickieNob’s age, maybe even younger. My grandfather’s big dictionary had a section at the back on names & their meanings & origins, and I absolutely gobbled it up — then bought a baby name book for myself (imagine a 12-year-old bringing one of those to the cash register at the bookstore…!). In later years, I loved “Beyond Jennifer & Jason” by Pamela Redmond Satran & Linda Rosenkrantz:


These days, I follow the Baby Name Wizard blog, which publishes various lists & analyzes naming trends:


I tend to like fairly classic names. If Katie had had a sibling, she would have been Amanda Claire or Michael Vincent Neill, which are names that I like and are also (in part) family names.

11 KeAnne { 08.30.15 at 5:04 pm }

Loribeth, Beyond Jennifer and Jason is the book I bought! And I did feel very weird at the register LOL

12 Jess { 08.30.15 at 10:22 pm }

I love baby name books! I had an older Bruce Lansky baby name book, that didn’t have nearly that many names, when I was in high school and writing stories. This one sounds amazing and I need it! I also have my students research their names (gets interesting with some of the lesser-known or unique-to-the-parents ones but I have my workarounds) in September, and so this would come in handy.
Names I won’t be using on FutureBaby because we couldn’t agree on them but I still love: Natalie, Amelia, Milo (he said it sounds more like a dog than a son, he has a point I guess), and Owen.
It sounds like you and the ChickieNob have a great relationship! I enjoy her spirit.

13 Rachel { 08.31.15 at 9:23 am }

I love names!! I can get lost for hours looking through names….I agree that Chickienob sounds like the coolest 11 year old!!! I’m sure Wolvlog is too! Although, speaking of names, I am dying to know what their real names are! If I get blessed to have a child, I think their name selection will easily be a 9 month dilemma. I have a bunch picked out already – but unless I name them with 15 first names, I’m going to have to really buckle down and select!

14 illustr8d { 08.31.15 at 12:58 pm }

So funny, I’m in the middle of sorting things and getting rid of books (wah!) and I have two or three baby name books (writer) and this is one of them and I like it a lot. Because I’m still in character development at the moment, the names in my head aren’t my favourites, but what fits the character.

I wanted Paige for a girl and Trevor for a boy. I also wanted Clive. My ex-husband wanted apostle names. We were pretty far apart. I still love Clive. He may end up in a book. Most of the girls in the book are named already. No Paiges yet.

15 illustr8d { 08.31.15 at 12:59 pm }

(Just to clarify, I’m NOT getting rid of this book.)

16 Sharon { 08.31.15 at 2:04 pm }

I have always loved the name Alex, for a boy or a girl. (So Alexandra for a girl or Alexander for a boy.) Fortunately, my husband was OK with the name Alexander, so that is the name of one of our twin boys.

I’ll also share two names that I’ll never use because they don’t go well with my husband’s surname (well, truth be told, I won’t be using any more baby names anyway because we’re done having children): Claire for a girl and Liam for a boy.

17 JustHeather { 09.01.15 at 1:28 am }

Fun comments to read! Names I’ve re-heard lately that I’ve considered for kids is Paavo for a boy and Lydia for a girl. However, my car is named Lydia.

18 Ann Z { 09.01.15 at 3:58 pm }

Probably the best book review I’ve read in a long time.

Favorite name: Linnea, a swedish name, originating from the scientist Carl Linnaeus, who laid the foundations of modern taxonomy and zoology. It’s also the name of a flower, Linnaea borealis. I just love the science and taxonomy connection.

(c) 2006 Melissa S. Ford
The contents of this website are protected by applicable copyright laws. All rights are reserved by the author