Apr 24

IMG_0550I’ve got good news and I’ve got bad news.

The good news is that my wife is expecting our second child and we are thrilled! The bad news is that, if it’s a boy, he may never have a name. The girl name was easy, deciding on a boy name is proving harder than cleaning up after our three-year-old gets into the LEGOs.

Which brings us to the subject of today’s post: baby name books. There are a lot out there, including one that touts 100,000+ names. This is a subject where you shouldn’t necessarily go for quantity. Often they are counting multiple spelling variations of the same name. [Full disclosure: I have not looked at the book with 100,000+ names, so I’m not referring specifically to that one. It may be a great book.] baby name wizard

We’ve really enjoyed looking through A is for Atticus, which is a collection of names from great works of literature. I think you can all guess why that was a must-have baby-naming book for me. The book that has been hands-down the most helpful is The Baby Name Wizard. It’s not just a list of names and meanings. Each name includes a list of other names that would make good choices for brothers and sisters. We’ve already looked up our son’s name and our prospective girl name is included in the list of sister possibilities! Also, names are categorized into things like “Timeless” or “Nickname-Proof,” so if you find a name you like, you can check the list of categories to find other names with similar traits. It’s all of this cross-referencing that makes this book so much fun and so helpful.

So, for the 5%* of you who are expecting or who know someone who is, this is absolutely THE best baby name book! Plus, they also have a website for even more research.

*yes, I made up that percentage.
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 We encourage you to write down or print out the title information and shop at your local bookstore. Titles link to LibraryThing, a social networking site that allows you to catalog your home library. LibraryThing also links to various online purchasing options. Here are the books from this post:
A is for Atticus by Lorilee Craker, Center Street trade paperback
The Baby Name Wizard by Laura Wattenberg, Broadway trade paperback
(all information is for the U.S. editions).
  • Marny

    Hi all, Michael’s expecting wife here. I’d like to mention that when Michael brought home “A is for Atticus” from our local bookstore, I flipped through it, made some notes. And then it sat on our coffee table for 2 weeks where I would walk by it every day. After awhile I started thinking, “Hmmm… I think I like the name Atticus.” I don’t think Michael will let me put it on our “boy name list.” Darn… Oh well. Happy baby name hunting! And if anyone has any suggestions, we are open!

  • Marny

    Hi all, Michael’s expecting wife here. I’d like to mention that when Michael brought home “A is for Atticus” from our local bookstore, I flipped through it, made some notes. And then it sat on our coffee table for 2 weeks where I would walk by it every day. After awhile I started thinking, “Hmmm… I think I like the name Atticus.” I don’t think Michael will let me put it on our “boy name list.” Darn… Oh well. Happy baby name hunting! And if anyone has any suggestions, we are open!

  • Congratulations Michael & family! This post couldn’t come at a better time…I am expecting my 4th (and 1st girl) in the next few weeks and still no name. 🙂
    For the record, I love the name Atticus for a boy.

  • Congratulations Michael & family! This post couldn’t come at a better time…I am expecting my 4th (and 1st girl) in the next few weeks and still no name. 🙂
    For the record, I love the name Atticus for a boy.

  • Suzanne

    Congratulations!

  • Suzanne

    Congratulations!

  • Congratulations!

    On a semi-literary note, one of my friends cautions all expecting parents against alliterative names – too sing-songy / nursery-rhymey.

  • Congratulations!

    On a semi-literary note, one of my friends cautions all expecting parents against alliterative names – too sing-songy / nursery-rhymey.

  • Congratulations!

    I’ve always loved really different names. My three children are Brik, Wynter and Geremy (that is actually just like Jeremy only french so the j sound is much softer and the r rolls – french makes everything prettier). 🙂

    I like Atticus too.

  • Congratulations!

    I’ve always loved really different names. My three children are Brik, Wynter and Geremy (that is actually just like Jeremy only french so the j sound is much softer and the r rolls – french makes everything prettier). 🙂

    I like Atticus too.

  • Carla Thompson

    Congrats. This came at a great time for our family as well. Our second grandchild is due in August, a boy. I sent the email to my daughter so she can check out the great books. Now, for my true test of a name; Go open the back door, if you have a screen door, swing it back real good and yell out the full name. How does it sound? Keep at it, your neighbors will love you.

  • Carla Thompson

    Congrats. This came at a great time for our family as well. Our second grandchild is due in August, a boy. I sent the email to my daughter so she can check out the great books. Now, for my true test of a name; Go open the back door, if you have a screen door, swing it back real good and yell out the full name. How does it sound? Keep at it, your neighbors will love you.

  • Mike

    Curious…do either of these books list Loki as a name? =)

  • Mike

    Curious…do either of these books list Loki as a name? =)

  • I’m so glad this post is proving helpful to some of you and thanks for all of the congratulations!

    Lily- We’re definitely against alliterative names, which cuts out most K, Q and C names. (Though Quinn is still in the running…)

    Great names Lynnea! I really like Wynter!

    Carla – that is too funny. Our neighbors are already sick of hearing Miles shouted when we’re in the backyard!

    Mike – no Loki in either book, though Thor does appear!

  • I’m so glad this post is proving helpful to some of you and thanks for all of the congratulations!

    Lily- We’re definitely against alliterative names, which cuts out most K, Q and C names. (Though Quinn is still in the running…)

    Great names Lynnea! I really like Wynter!

    Carla – that is too funny. Our neighbors are already sick of hearing Miles shouted when we’re in the backyard!

    Mike – no Loki in either book, though Thor does appear!

  • Susan

    Congratulations!!

    How exciting–another book-lover in the making!

  • Susan

    Congratulations!!

    How exciting–another book-lover in the making!

  • Michael, you hit it with this post! We are expecting our second as well, and are in the same boat. We’ve had a girl’s name picked out since before our first son was born and we used the “good” boy name on him. My girlfriend just loaned “The Baby Name Wizard” to us and after comparing it with one from the library that has “over 10000 names” it is the only one we have looked at seriously. I love how it is set up and the girl’s name we have picked is listed as a sibling name to our son’s name. If only we could find that elusive second boy’s name! Good luck to you!!

  • Michael, you hit it with this post! We are expecting our second as well, and are in the same boat. We’ve had a girl’s name picked out since before our first son was born and we used the “good” boy name on him. My girlfriend just loaned “The Baby Name Wizard” to us and after comparing it with one from the library that has “over 10000 names” it is the only one we have looked at seriously. I love how it is set up and the girl’s name we have picked is listed as a sibling name to our son’s name. If only we could find that elusive second boy’s name! Good luck to you!!

  • Best wishes, Michael and Marny. What wonderful news!

    Our never-used boy’s name was Matthew John — Matthew because I like it in full and also as Matt — and John for family members. (Humorous friends asked why we were dissing poor Mark and Luke and the other disciples.)

    For the girl’s name, once we had a contender, I looked at this Popular Baby Names website to make sure we weren’t picking a name that was too “over-used”. (http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/babynames/)

  • Best wishes, Michael and Marny. What wonderful news!

    Our never-used boy’s name was Matthew John — Matthew because I like it in full and also as Matt — and John for family members. (Humorous friends asked why we were dissing poor Mark and Luke and the other disciples.)

    For the girl’s name, once we had a contender, I looked at this Popular Baby Names website to make sure we weren’t picking a name that was too “over-used”. (http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/babynames/)

  • Congratulations!

    And great timing we are expecting our first in six weeks. We know it’s a boy but are having a hard time narrowing it down. I like the idea of matching up with possible future siblings names – very cool 🙂

  • Congratulations!

    And great timing we are expecting our first in six weeks. We know it’s a boy but are having a hard time narrowing it down. I like the idea of matching up with possible future siblings names – very cool 🙂

  • Joanne

    Best wishes to you all! We didn’t make a final decision on our son’s name until we were on our way to the hospital…what’s the hurry? 🙂

  • Joanne

    Best wishes to you all! We didn’t make a final decision on our son’s name until we were on our way to the hospital…what’s the hurry? 🙂

  • Michael – Super hearty congratulations on the great news, and don’t worry if it’s a boy, because there are plenty of writer names out there to choose from – Fyodor, Haruki, Edgar, Anton to name but four.
    Warmest
    Rob

  • Michael – Super hearty congratulations on the great news, and don’t worry if it’s a boy, because there are plenty of writer names out there to choose from – Fyodor, Haruki, Edgar, Anton to name but four.
    Warmest
    Rob

  • Eve

    Congrats!! My son’s name is Luca and his middle name is Gabriel, feel free to use them if you want! LOL I think finding a good boys name is so much harder for some reason then finding a good girls name. We had my daughters name picked out right away, our sons took a lot more back and forth. 🙂

  • Eve

    Congrats!! My son’s name is Luca and his middle name is Gabriel, feel free to use them if you want! LOL I think finding a good boys name is so much harder for some reason then finding a good girls name. We had my daughters name picked out right away, our sons took a lot more back and forth. 🙂

  • Jay

    Congratulations, Michael!

  • Jay

    Congratulations, Michael!

  • Congrats you two!!!!

  • Congrats you two!!!!

  • Congratulations to both of you!

    And as a member of the most-popular-names-of-the-decade club, I second Laura’s suggestion to take a look at the SSA list. Not that I don’t like my name, but when my high school geometry class included two Sarahs, two Saras, and a Tara, it was a challenge to figure out which one of us the teacher was talking to.

    I still wonder what the woman behind me in line was thinking when she watched a 16-year-old stock up on baby name books at a sale. (As a writer, I loved them for character names – but I didn’t tell her that.)

  • Congratulations to both of you!

    And as a member of the most-popular-names-of-the-decade club, I second Laura’s suggestion to take a look at the SSA list. Not that I don’t like my name, but when my high school geometry class included two Sarahs, two Saras, and a Tara, it was a challenge to figure out which one of us the teacher was talking to.

    I still wonder what the woman behind me in line was thinking when she watched a 16-year-old stock up on baby name books at a sale. (As a writer, I loved them for character names – but I didn’t tell her that.)

  • Claire

    Congratulations – and you might like this website: http://swistlebabynames.blogspot.com/.

  • Claire

    Congratulations – and you might like this website: http://swistlebabynames.blogspot.com/.

  • Tanya

    Congratulations!

    As for baby naming, be grateful you have a choice! My husband’s family had some sort of ancient nomenclature rule in place that was overseen by the grand-matriarch. The rule took into consideration both maternal and paternal surnames and, until the 1960’s, you knew EXACTLY where someone was on the family tree just by their name! Apparently, to run counter to this rule was inviting censure, if not downright disinheritance and disownment! In the 1960’s though, one branch of the family went “renegade” and started naming their kids whatever they wanted. Interestingly, the other branch still adheres to the rule. Now, you know by the names, who is considered descended from the “black sheep herd” and who isn’t! I will say though, it makes geneaology easy!

  • Tanya

    Congratulations!

    As for baby naming, be grateful you have a choice! My husband’s family had some sort of ancient nomenclature rule in place that was overseen by the grand-matriarch. The rule took into consideration both maternal and paternal surnames and, until the 1960’s, you knew EXACTLY where someone was on the family tree just by their name! Apparently, to run counter to this rule was inviting censure, if not downright disinheritance and disownment! In the 1960’s though, one branch of the family went “renegade” and started naming their kids whatever they wanted. Interestingly, the other branch still adheres to the rule. Now, you know by the names, who is considered descended from the “black sheep herd” and who isn’t! I will say though, it makes geneaology easy!

  • Ohmygosh! Congrats!!!!!!

  • Ohmygosh! Congrats!!!!!!

  • Where was this post when I was looking at baby name books to send to my sister??

    oh yeah…you hadn’t written it yet. hmm, you can never have enough baby name books…can you?

  • Where was this post when I was looking at baby name books to send to my sister??

    oh yeah…you hadn’t written it yet. hmm, you can never have enough baby name books…can you?

  • Carla Thompson

    look at this for more girls names, I thought it was funny
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pCdmiZyyGjQ

  • Carla Thompson

    look at this for more girls names, I thought it was funny
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pCdmiZyyGjQ

  • Michael, just in case you feel like procrastinating …

    My new nephew was born on Thursday afternoon, a month early. Guess what? No name! Brother and Sister-in-law had not yet come to an agreement.

    We are still waiting, 2 days later!

  • Michael, just in case you feel like procrastinating …

    My new nephew was born on Thursday afternoon, a month early. Guess what? No name! Brother and Sister-in-law had not yet come to an agreement.

    We are still waiting, 2 days later!

  • Thanks for all of the congrats everyone and for that very funny video Carla. Most of those names are now in the running…

    Ann, my wife is way to organized to get anywhere near the end of her pregnancy without a name. As soon as we find out what we’re having, a summit will be held where we come to a consensus.

  • Thanks for all of the congrats everyone and for that very funny video Carla. Most of those names are now in the running…

    Ann, my wife is way to organized to get anywhere near the end of her pregnancy without a name. As soon as we find out what we’re having, a summit will be held where we come to a consensus.

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