HarlowHave you read We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves? It was mentioned on Modern Mrs. Darcy – if you’re a reader, Anne’s recommendations are always worth a look.

Anyhow, Beside Ourselves author Karen Joy Fowler is clearly a student of names. So many of the choices were just flat-out fabulous: a brother called Lowell, named after the Lowell Observatory. A troublemaking friend called Harlow. And Rosemary and Fern, sisters – but I dare not say anything else, or I’ll ruin the story.

But I have included two of my favorite name-related quotes from the book in this post.  Enjoy!

RosemaryElsewhere online:

  • Since we’re talking baby names from fiction, did you see Brooke’s post on Crusoe? I love the idea of this literary surname name, and the backstory is interesting. Cruz is on the rise, and we’re all about names ending in ‘o’ – why not Crusoe?
  • For Real Baby Names found some great examples of bold middle names in California: Claire Darling, which is an endearment, of course, but all a literary nod to Peter Pan. Then there’s Hadley November, Aurelio Sunrise, Connor Orestes, Josiah Hawk, Leala Temperance, Porter Tesla, and Waylon Butch. That crazy name that seems like too much for a child to wear? It’s probably perfect in the middle spot.
  • How gorgeous are these pictures? And how great are these names for a winter baby? If I had it to do again, I would absolutely be arguing to name our December-born son Alexander Frost.
  • Ottilie, Cosmo, and Cleodie! Sibset spotting in the birth announcements at British Baby Names is always a delight. Speaking of Cleodie, I need to add Cleodie to this list.
  • Anamar = a smoosh of Ana and Maria, found at Nomes e mais Nomes. Love this name! But then, I have a long-standing affection for smoosh names. And a growing appreciation for Ann- names, too, a category that is, I think, infinite.
  • Duana has a great answer to this reader’s question. When confronted when a cumbersome last name, lots of parents think their only option is to keep their child’s first name super-simple. But that’s not necessarily so.
  • On baby names and band names, and associations that happen after the fact.
  • Sort of snarky commentary on the Swiss firm charging $31,000 to create bespoke baby names, but I cannot resist. A more thoughtful take on this question tomorrow at Nameberry.
  • I’m never sure how to treat posts about crazy baby names that are decidedly and determinedly snarky. Usually I read them, but tend not to link to them. Except – there’s a boy named Troubadour! Which is crazy and fabulous, and I’ve been thinking that True names are having a moment, so … does Troubadour work, or is it way over the top? If we’re saying yes to Lyric and Harmony and Story, isn’t Troubadour less outlandish than it initially seems?
  • This seems terribly clever, and I get that Ella is a play on Eloise – but shouldn’t the star of The Hipster Children’s Book have a much edgier name, like Lulu or India?  Still, can’t wait to get my hands on a copy.
  • Obviously, the  most important part of this story is that Italy’s Licia Ronzulli shows up to European Parliament sessions with her small daughter in tow, first as a newborn in a sling, and now as an adorable, stuffed-animal-waving toddler. And that it started as a way to symbolize the challenges faced by working women. But may I also draw attention to her daughter’s gorgeous name? Vittoria. Swoon.
  • Which reminds me … Gaia is in the Italian girls’ Top Ten. Gorgeous name! And I love so many from the boys’ list, too: Lorenzo, Francesco, Matteo. Great names, all.

That’s all for this week! As always, thank you for reading – and have a great week!

About Abby Sandel

Whether you're naming a baby, or just all about names, you've come to the right place! Appellation Mountain is a haven for lovers of obscure gems and enduring classics alike.

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What do you think?


  1. Speaking as someone with a long and difficult last name, I defy those who say my kid’s first name “has to be” short or simple. It’s like those people who insist that girls shouldn’t get middle names, because “they’ll just use their last name as their middle name when they get married.” What kind of nonsense is that? Your name is your name, whether its long or short. I don’t see anyone going around telling the Smiths and Joneses of the world that they HAVE to name their children Frederick and Victoria and Salvador to make up for their short last names.

    When we named our daughter, a friend’s first response was “Wow, that’s a lot of name for a tiny baby.” Well, luckily she was not in charge of filling out her forms at birth. She’s not going to be a tiny baby forever, and she could handle her entire name, first, middle and last, just fine by the time she was three. I’m not naming “a baby.” I’m naming a human being.

  2. Every big bloke-y beer drinking man and their dog has a daughter named Ellie or Ella out here. Ella Rose or Ella Grace basically means ‘child under age 7’

    Not. Hipster.

  3. I’m putting We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves on my reading list and definitely will check out Modern Mrs. Darcy. I’m always looking for a good book!

    I love those bold middles, probably why I keep using them for my titles. 🙂

    I like Crusoe. I wouldn’t mind seeing more of him in my searches and Cleodie is gorgeous.

    Wow. Troubadour and Maizey doesn’t seem all that unique especially after Troubadour.

    Have a great week!