Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Baby Name Survey Book

Welcome to Day Three of my Back from Hiatus Contest. Today's favorite non-fiction book isn't actually a writing book, but it's one of my favorite writing resources. I did a post about this book in the past, but since we're talking favorite non-fiction books, I thought it was worth another mention. Today's book is:

The Baby Name Survey Book

Author: Bruce Lansky, writer of poetry and songbooks. Lansky co-authored The Baby Name Survey Book: What People Think About Your Baby's Name (this is the older version of the book and the one that I own) with Bruce Sinrod. He collaborated with Megan McGinnis on a new edition, The New Baby Name Survey Book: How to Pick a Name That Makes a Favorable Impression for Your Child.

Amazon.com price: $9.95

Why I Like It: This book goes beyond meanings and origins found in typical baby name books. The authors surveyed over 100,000 parents to find out what associations people have with certain names. For example, Susan is Hebrew, means "lily", and "is described as an average woman who is wholesome, pleasant, and down-to-earth. Some people, though, think Susan is whiny and fussy." Ouch!

My Favorite Section: The front of the book lists categories (i.e. confident, friendly, wimp) and names that are perceived as fitting that image. For example, do you have a male character who is artistic? Try Axel, Luis, or Vincent. A female character who is well-educated? Try Amy, Cassie, Hillary, or Monica.

Note: The version of the book I have was pubished in 1997 and is somewhat outdated. The newer version of the book was published in 2007. I'm not sure how different the two books are.

Don't forget to enter my Back from Hiatus Contest by commenting on this original post.

Have a great weekend, Everyone!

24 comments:

salarsenッ said...

Hah, the book sounds great. I'm a big baby book fan as well as a name feign. I love unusual names.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

What a great idea! I use baby naming websites, but they don't have that category thing that this book has.

Bish Denham said...

Oooo, sounds like a GREAT book to have on my bulging shelf.

Elaine AM Smith said...

Names are so important. We spent so long considering not what our little-bundle-of-joy looked like then but what she might one day become. We named a captain of industry or the Tate's new break through artist. Of course, now she has an opinion, she says she is mystified how two creative, intelligent people could have given her such a boring name. She describes it as our "off-hour"

Old Kitty said...

Oh wow!! I tend to run out of names for my characters and pick from people I know and just use person A's name to person B's surname! Which doesn't really give the characters any real depth!! :-)So this is a handy book to definitely have!

Take care
x

Laura Marcella said...

That's so cool! I like that perceptions of names are included. Baby name books are great tools for writers! Thanks for the review. I usually use an online baby name site for character ideas, but I'll have to check this one out. It'd be good to have a hard copy. But I better not leave it laying around or people will think something else, lol.

Joanne said...

I love the idea of this, to add even more meaning to our characters by picking just the right name. A nice resource to have.

lotusgirl said...

I use books like that or online lists for character names.

Stephen Tremp said...

You're almost at 300 followers. It'll be interesting to see the name of that person in light of today's post. I guess I'm just easily amused.

Stephen Tremp

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I like the idea of categories!

Brian said...

I wonder if anyone ever goes right to the wimp section?

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I've never seen this book - thanks, Susan! :-)

Jackee said...

You've told me how much you love this one before but it's so nice to hear why in depth! Thanks for sharing. It sure beats the online versions of baby namers! :o)

Have a great weekend, my friend!

Lenny Lee! said...

hi miss susan! that sounds like a pretty neat book for helping get a name for a character. i bet its got a zillion names in it. ha ha. my name means strong as a lion. wow how cool is that. i hope you have a really nice weekend.
...happy halloween hugs from lenny

Marcia said...

I love baby-naming resources for characters. I think I saw the earlier edition of this book. Marcia was sweet, friendly and quiet. Marsha, however, was a plump, bubbly gum-chewing blonde! Anne with an E knew what she was talking about -- spelling matters. :)

Medeia Sharif said...

I used to have a baby name book, but now I use an iPod app.

The books and apps come in handy. I'll browse for names of characters. I have those aha moments thinking, "That fits my character!"

MT said...

This is one of those times when I say, "Hey, why didn't I think to do that?" I love a good name resource. Thanks for the tip. :)
Happy Halloween!

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

I have an older version of this book...It rocks! It's fun just to read...a great party entertainment tool. :-0

Shelley Sly said...

That book looks awesome! I use baby name websites when I need a character name, so this book would be perfect! Even if I don't need a name, it looks like a fun read. :)

Aubrie said...

Wow, this is so interesting! My sister just named her baby Evan and I wonder what they say about that.

I never thought of Susan as fussy! More like friendly. :)

Paul C said...

This sounds like a fascinating book. What associations a name triggers....My daughter will soon give birth and the anticipating parents have several very worthy names like....Avalon....

Jennifer Shirk said...

That would be a great book for character naming too. I sometimes like to know what people think a certain name means to them to get a name right for my hero or heroine.

Lola Sharp said...

I do not own this one...and never thought to. Hmmmm...I think this might be the one I hope to win! :)

Jen Daiker said...

I never would have thought to own this book but now I'm starting to realize it would be extremely helpful! Just the other day I was in need of a name (Found it: Cameron) and thank you to trusty twitter I was able to get people's opinions!