I enjoyed reading Linda Rosenkrantz’s latest article, which she calls, “7 Newly Popular Baby Names That Have Been Hiding In Plain Sight.” I enjoyed it because she recommended the names of characters from several of my favorite books (including: Huckleberry Finn, Catcher in the Rye, and To Kill a Mockingbird). And because the article was so well-written:
- The Concept: In her post Rosenkrantz features seven names with strong literary provenance which have been around a long time and whose popularity has been increasing in popularity in recent years.
- The Seven Names: Atticus, Beckett, Dashiel, Holden, Huckleberry, Lincoln and Scarlett.
- The Literary/Historical Background: Rosenkrantz explains the importance of the books from which the names come, and she describes the protagonists in a manner that sheds light on kind of role model or inspiration their names might provide for a child.
- Why These Names Now: Rosenkrantz references popularity data and media exposure which she uses to “explain” the relevance of the names, now, and provide reasons for expectant parents to consider the names now.
My Take on the Names
Names I Like a Lot: Lincoln and Beckett
Names Worth Considering: Scarlett and Holden
Names with Practical Problems: Atticus, Dashiel and Huckleberry
–Atticus: The bad news: This ancient Latin name is stiff, formal and serious; it lacks versatility in that there is no obvious nickname or familiar form to use when you are tucking your baby into bed or when teammates on the soccer team are chatting after a tough game. It’s likely to be a puzzler for a blind date. The good news: I suppose the name will become more appropriate when your son studies classics or law. –Dashiel: The bad news: The spelling and pronunciation of this name are odd and likely to be a source of daily confusion. The good news: The name calls to mind exciting noir mysteries; and, Dash is a definitely dashing nickname. It’s on my list of “Cool Names for Boys.” –Huckleberry: The bad news: The long form of this food name doesn’t sound much like a name for a boy or a man. It lacks versatility. The long form seems informal and comical. And the nickname, Huck, rhymes with “uck” words that are likely to a source of teasing and derision. The good news: It’s associated with one of the greatest characters in American literature.
Overall: Unlike her Nameberry colleague, Pamela Redmond Satran, Rosenkrantz’s presentation is intelligent, interesting, thought provoking and presents some usable names likely function well for you and your child. But like her Nameberry colleague, Rosenkrantz doesn’t pay much attention to the practical aspects of baby-naming, which is why three of the seven names are likely to prove awkward for use when you’re calming a crying baby or when your child is chatting with friends on the playground at recess. If a name doesn’t work well for your child, it’s likely to be dropped and replaced by a nickname that works better than Atticus, Huck, or Dashiel. That’s what happens when you don’t pay attention to the practical issues.