Set-Up: Like many new parents, my wife/I went through endless lists of possible names for our first child.  Our goals at the time were pretty simple:

  • Retro/classic but with a ‘modern’ twist (“Beckett” seemed to fit that mark)
  • Not typical, or at least not expected by most people who’ve heard a lot of baby names
  • Had good/solid nickname possibilities over time (aka “Bex” or “Becks” thus far)
  • No obviously ‘bad’ playground nicknames
  • Fit well with “Long” as a last name

Ultimately we stumbled upon ‘authors’ names one afternoon while driving around Fort Worth, hence the choice to take Samuel Beckett‘s (author of Waiting for Godot) last name as our son’s first (although Mr. Long will often claim that his lifelong love of the Boston Red Sox was the real reason; just don’t tell his wife).

Challenge: With a new kid soon to arrive in our home this coming March, we’re beginning to toss around various possibilities for her/his name.  We won’t know the gender for 2 more weeks, so we’re still pretty wide open to suggestions.

  • Offer a literary name — author, character, location, concept, title —  that you think would be an interesting boy’s or girl’s name for my wife/me to name our next child.
  • Make sure that it fits the criteria mentioned above (nicknames, retro/modern, etc).
  • Explain why you think it would work, including anything cool trivia-wise about that literary connection.

Length: 5+ sentence


25 responses to “W8, #6: NAME GAME

  1. I always liked the name Martin. I don’t know why. Actually it might have something to do with one of the first fantasy books I ever read. If you have ever heard of Brian Jaqueces then you have probably heard of Redwall. The first book I read of this series was about the best hero and founder of a place of tranquility. His name was Martin. It’s not a bad series. Also if you are looking for good nicknames then what about marty.


    Mr. Long: Grew up with a kid named Marty; a classic nickname in an all-American sort of way. I was new to this book, but Mr. R. knew it right away. Thanks for the intro.

  2. Any Lord of the Rings name/place would be lovely, of course…how about Lorien, or Lothlorien? It conjures up a beautiful image, and you could call her Lorie. Then you’d get some nice alliteration – Lorie Long. (Let’s just hope your child grows up to like Lord of the Rings.)

    There’s also some great names from Oliver Twist – Maylie for a girl, or Brownlow for a boy (you could call him Brownie). I don’t know about you, but I would never be ashamed of the name “Brownie” on the playground.


    Mr. Long: Makes me wonder if Tolkien will ever be a first name one will hear in the next fear years given the popularity of his writing/stories. Love the alliterative possibilities of “Lorie Long” and can see the potential of “Brownlow” in the right situation. Lorien might be the best fit given the parameters on this prompt.

  3. Sorry if I went a bit overboard. I have a lot of names that I like. 🙂

    I really like music. A lot. So it makes sense to suggest the names of songs (or characters from songs).
    –‘Roxane’ by the Police
    –‘Lovely Rita’ by the Beatles
    –‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’ by the Beatles
    –the character ‘Molly’ from ‘Obladi, Oblada’ by the Beatles (sense a theme?)
    –‘Martha My Dear’ by the Beatles
    –‘Eleanor Rigby’ by the Beatles (this one is a bit darker)

    Stella, the name of Paul McCartney’s daughter, is another name which caught my eye.

    I also have a few characters from books or movies who I admired a lot–and I like their names too.

    Cimorene is a character from a book series I loved as a kid. She is a princess, but doesn’t act like one–she doesn’t want to sit back and watch a prince fight over her! Instead, she wants to fight for herself. She absolutely despises the sexist view that girls are merely to be rescued. She is strong-willed and confident. The first book in the series is Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede. “Morwen” is also a character I loved in that series.

    Lyra is another name I love. She is the main character in the controversial book series ‘His Dark Materials’, so if you’re against that you can ignore this one. But she is an amazing girl who saves the world. What could be better than that?

    Chaya is the name of a girl in the book The Devil’s Arithmetic by Jane Yolen. It is a fictional story of a girl who is taken to a concentration camp. Chaya is a Hebrew name meaning ‘life’.

    Jem is a character in a book everyone should read–To Kill a Mockingbird. ‘Nuff said.

    Sorry…but I really liked the name Maximus. Yes, he’s the guy from Gladiator. But though Max is a semi-common name, Maximus certainly is not.

    WOW…again, sorry this is so long!


    Mr. Long: My uncle is Macpherson (aka Mac), so I’m definitely comfortable with Maximus in spirit, but I’m wondering if togas would be mandatory. Jem is brilliant. Obviously Scout has been well-loved as a name the last few years; the book clearly has fans of new parents! My gut says Eleanor will make a comeback in the next decade or two, too.

  4. My name suggestion is Haven.

    Haven is the name of the main character in That Summer by Sarah Dessen. A potential nickname would be “Hay” and the name would be for a girl. It’s not exactly retro but it is not a common name. In fact according to the 1990 U.S. census there is an estimate of only one (or fewer) person in the country with that name. Haven means a safe place or refuge and I think that is really cool.


    Mr. Long: “Hay” seems like a great hand-me-down name in a true small Southern town, especially in a novel. Haven is intriguing, too.

  5. If it is a boy you could name him Josh to complete the name. 🙂 Just kidding.

    If it turns out to be a girl, my favorite name would most def. be Isabella Marie. She could go by Bella and when she is getting in trouble Isabella Marie sounds pretty good.

    My favorite boys name would have to be Aiden. I have a cousin named Aiden and love this name. Although it is hard to make nicknames, Aiden Long sounds pretty good together. Maybe he could go by Aidy?


    Mr. Long: Like you, I think Aiden is a great name…and the combo with our last name is solid. I love Bella, but there is a cute lil’ dog in our neighborhood that Beckett goes to say hello to on walks; not sure we could have a kid by that name without feeling awkward.

  6. I think that Charles would fit perfectly with Long. Charles is a name of English descent and is a very classic name. Charles’s middle name would need to start with a J, for he could be nicknamed “C.J.” Charles Jonathan Long has a unique linguistic cadence. Besides the rhythmic sound, I chose Charles after Charles Dickens. Charles Dickens is probably the most famous, and most prolific, English novelist ever. One of Charles Dickens most famous novels is Hard Times, another is A Tale of Two Cities. Since I know Mr. Long is very fond of English literature, I think this name would have special meaning for him.


    Mr. Long: I am already fired up to do A Tale of Two Cities in the late spring; thanks for reminding me! Appreciate the way you thought about the middle name. We’ll go with a family name on that one, but the Charles Johnson is classic and CJ would be a great nickname.

  7. I think the name Ernest would be a quite suitable name. It has a long history in my family; I don’t even know exactly where the name started. This is my middle name and I think it’s a fine name. It is a strong bold name and only two syllables. Also I think the name Ernest Long flows rather fine and doesn’t make you stumble.


    Mr. Long: This is my uncle’s name, actually, so good minds obviously think alike. This is also a nice nod to an Oscar Wilde play we’ll read later this year.

  8. One name that i stumbled upon that i hadn’t thought of before was Artemis, From the Eoin Colfier series, Artemis Fowl. I thought this name was interesting because rarely are people seen with the name artemis these days. You would have the great nickname of “artie” which sounds pretty cool in my opinion. Also, Artemis Long has a nice sound to it and reminds me somewhat of a banker’s name. I tried but I was unable to come up with any female names.


    Mr. Long: Very intriguing. Artemis and Artie. Mmmm. Could be ancient Greece or the future, plus a classic 1940’s sandlot baseball player’s name. Very intriguing.

  9. For a girl I thought of the name Annemarie. It came from the book Number the Stars by Lois Lowry. This book was probably the first book I really liked. I think I had a book report on it in like third grade. It became one of my favorites. It was also the first book I read more than once. I think Annemarie goes pretty well with the name Long. Nickname wise you could call her Ann, Annie, or Marie. I thought it was a unique name and that it had a grace to it.

    Boy name wise I was thinking Johnathan or Keenan. Johnathan came from the book City of Bones by Cassandra Clare. It’s currently one of my favorite books, I’ve probably read it about three times. I like this name mainly because of the nickname Jace that goes with it. Keenan came from a book called Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr. Keenan doesn’t have much nickname potential but it’s original.


    Mr. Long: Mmm, Jace is intriguing. And I love Keenan, to be honest.

  10. The name I have deemed worthy for Baby Long is…
    Peekay Long
    Peekay is a character from the classic book, The Power of One, written by Bryce Courtenay in 1989. The book takes place in the 1940s in South Africa. Peekay originally had a different name, but he was given the name ‘Pisskop’ by the older boys who bullied him at this school. Peekay eventually transformed this cruel childhood joke into the powerful name it became in his later life. Throughout his life, Peekay had to deal with adversity of being a white boy in a black man’s world, and these challenges made him into a very powerful character. Peekay was a very interesting and intelligent person who became a world caliber boxer, and Baby Long would be very well off to have such a dynamic name.
    There are various spins you could take off of Peekay, such as Pee, if you were feeling cruel, and Kay. In addition to his nicknames, Baby Long would have a cool symbol if he ever decided to become a rapper, PK.
    Peekay is a very original name, and odds are if you shouted it in a restaurant, only Baby Long would turn around.


    Mr. Long: PK is great, although I must admit that sending my son into a playground with lillun’s if he’s named Peekay might be a bit awkward. I do, however, really love the story you described and need to add it to my reading list soon!

    Maybe we’ll just go with Baby Long? Easy, accurate, and logical.

  11. When I read of a ‘classic/retro’ name I jumped straight to my Itunes library looking at the names of songs of great classical singers. I stumbled upon the name of one artist, Loreena. Loreena has such a nice almost dreamy flow in it. I guess the nickname Lorey, maybe inevitable but its retro, in a way. Personally, I love alliteration in a name, so Loreena Long, isnt too bad. I am inferring that Loreena is a cross between Loreen and Lorena, maybe. Loreen being an elaboration of Lora, and Lorena from the song “Lorena” by Joseph Webster (there is more to the name, on behindthename.com). Oh, check out some of Loreena McKennitt’s music, it’s quite relaxing.


    Mr. Long: I appreciated being re-reminded of L. McKennitt’s music. Thans. Mmm: Loreena Long; more alliteration; good to the ear.

  12. When I was little I used to read the Cam Jansen mystery series. David Adler was the author of those series. He also wrote other mystery series for young readers including a book I read when I was about ten called The Number on My Grandfather’s Arm which was a book about the Holocaust. Seriously how cute does Adler Long sound? It’s cool, it’s hip. You could call him “Addy” or “Ad” or whatever. Also it would be cool to say “My kids names are Adler and Beckett.”

    A cute little girl’s name would be Remy (from This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen). Except i wouldn’t pronounce it “Remy” I would pronounce it “Rai-my” Little Remy Long.

    One of my favorite books The Giver Jonas’ (the main character) best friend’s name was Asher. I always liked the name Asher. Asher Long has a ring to it. You could call him “Ash”. heehee. I love babies.

    In another one of my favorite books, A Painted House, the main characters last name is Chandler. Chandler Long. You could call him “Chan”?

    Okay I’m almost done.

    Brimmer Long. Brimmer is the last name of the main characters in one of my favorite books The Man Who was Poe by Avi. You could call him “Brim”.

    Blanche is the name of Jane’s competition for Mr. Rochester in another one of my favorite books Jane Eyre. I think Blanche is a pretty name and Jane Eyre is a classic. Blanche Long. Cute.


    Mr. Long: First and foremost, a great list with some clever reasons tucked in.

    I love Remy. Seriously. As in, I could definitely put that on a birth certificate if that choice was loved by my wife. And as a Red Sox fan, who doesn’t have fond memories of Jerry Remy, superstar 2nd baseman back in my childhood???

    You get extra brownie points for pointing out one of my fav books: Jane Eyre. Blanche is a great name, but I’m also thinking “Rochester Long” is kind of intriguing.

    Like Chandler, but I can’t get “Friends” out of my mind.

    Brimmer. Mmm. Making me smile.

  13. If you’re a Seinfeld fan, you may consider “Seven” or maybe even “Soda”. Soda would probably be my favorite of the two for a girl, and her friends could call her Sody. Sody Long has a nice ring to it.

    But if thats a little to strange, or you don’t want to evoke Jason Alexander’s wrath, then I like Lola for a girl, based of the movie Run, Lola, Run. Also, the name can be connected to the controversial Kinks song, so that may be a plus or a minus based on you and your wife’s particular preferences. For a boy, Peter would be an interesting choice. While it may be a fairly common name, an astounding amount of literary characters were named Peter. One Peter (from the Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing series) provides a good nickname: Pee-tah. or maybe Artemis, from the Artemis Fowl series, after the Greek goddess of hunting. In the book, it was a guy’s name so… there’s another interesting choice for your consideration.


    Mr. Long: Can I go with S. E. Hinton’s classic name from “The Outsiders”: Soda Pop (or even Pony Boy)?

    I do like Sody or Sodie. Intriguing.

    Man, do I love that you brought up “Run Lola, Run” — in fact, it’s been hiding out on my bookshelf in my room for a random moment this year when we think about how many ways a story can evolve within a story.

  14. If you end up having a girl, one of my favorite female names in Cecelia. It just so happens that this is also the name of one of the main characters in Beaches. I randomly found this movie one day when I was cleaning and I fell in love with it. It’s a major chick flick but I’m a girl so what can I say. This is one of my FAVORITE movies of all time. I had no idea it was a book until I stumbled upon it on Amazon.com last summer. I haven’t read it yet but I already know it will be amazing. Anyway, I think that Cecelia is a great name and it could be shortened to Cece[:


    Mr. Long: Also the name of a Simon and Garfunkel song that I love. BTW, I cry every time the little girl asks if she can bring her cat with her (toward the end). I’m a sap. Can’t help it.

  15. Noah is a pretty good guy’s name. The Webster’s dictionary was named after Noah, so that’s of huge importance. Yet, Noah is not a common name, and I like the sound of it.

    Kensley is a cool name, too. I was just thinking of Stephen King, then somehow it changed to Kingsley and then Kensley. So Kensley is not a direct literary name, but it was affected by one.
    Kens is a good nickname for Kensley.

    For a girl’s name, Chloe (pronounced klo-wee) is one of my favorites. I first heard this name in Daphnis and Chloe, an ancient Greek tale written by Longos.

    Although of no literary reference, the name Schuyler is also nice. The spelling can be changed a little to fit you taste, but overall, it’s a cool name. Schuyler’s nickname would definitely be ‘Sky’.


    Mr. Long: Did you know that Stephen King was a HS English teacher at my high school (a few years before I went there)? That he lived the next town over from me growing up? I think that Kingsley and Kensley would be gool variations of his name….and both great options for a cool kid’s name. Also intrigued by Schuyler/Sky.

  16. I think Jane is such a pretty name.
    It is simple, sweet, plus you could call her Janey (I think that is really cute). Look out for her being called a lazy line painter…ha
    If you like Jane but think it is too generic, you could go with Aurora.
    I also think the name Aurora is really cute. Like every other nick name, you can add a ‘y’ to the end and it is really adorable, Aury (kind of strange sounding though). Another cute and French-y name is Cecile, add an accent on the e for extra fun.

    For a boy’s name…
    Cilian (pronounced with a ‘k’),
    I just think it has a nice ring to it.
    I also like the name Rylan.
    My family is really Irish on my mom’s side (my great-grandparents came over ‘on the boat’ and he majority of the men in my family are either named Michael or Patrick). I think Rylan Long sounds really nice.
    I also like Damien or Tristan Long. They have an old world feel but they still feel modern.


    Mr. Long: Tristian is fantastic, and I’m also intrigued by Rylan and Cilian (with the “K” sound). Thanks!

  17. The inner dork in me had to choose Velma. She was my favorite character in Scooby Doo followed closely by Shaggy. Who wouldn’t want their kid named after the most amazing crime-solving teenager of Mystery Inc. ever? You could take the obvious route and call her Vel for short and I’m pretty sure that no one else will have the same name.

    For a guys’ name I’m going to go with Rodger. The fact that Shaggy’s real name is Norville Rodgers is just a lucky coincidence, I didn’t plan that. I besides that I have no historical background for the name, it’s just awesome. A possible nickname could be Rodge and for a REAL stretch you could call him Shaggy. You don’t have to tell him that Roger is a sociopath from LOTF.


    Mr. Long: You’re making me nostalgic back to my own childhood watching those cartoons on Sat. mornings.

  18. Dakota Long.

    I have always loved this name; ever since I saw uptown girls with Dakota Fanning I have been hooked. She is such a great actress for being pretty young. She is a great role model and she doesn’t seem like she is into that Hollywood drama. I would not be ashamed of my daughter idolizing her. I also believe its something that you don’t see often. Something someone can appreciate. Kota is a very cute nickname also, and very unique.


    Mr. Long: Kota would be a fun/clever nickname and clearly Dakota has grabbed a lot of parents’ attentions the last few year.

  19. Annette is an interesting name, because it reminds me of Marie Antoinette. She was a very successful French queen. I think it is very unique, as I have only heard Annette once. Natty would be a very good nickname for Annette. Annette sounds very unique and modern, with a historical twist. Annette could also be used as a very cute middle name.


    Mr. Long: I do rather like it as a middle name. And Natty is a great nickname, too.

  20. Jasey Rae would be an awesome name. First of all, how super does Jasey Rae Long sound. It’s also a good song by All Time Low, some of my favorite lyrics “I’ve never told a lie
    and that makes me a liar, I’ve never made a bet,
    but we gamble with desire, I’ve never lit a match,
    with intent to start a fire, but recently the flames, are getting out of control.”

    If Baby Long–as Durbin says– is a boy, I would go with Forrest Harper Long. The name is the main character of the book The Ravenmaster’s Secret by Elvira Woodruff. He was a brave character, always challenging what seemed wrong and following his heart.


    Mr. Long: Really dig Forrest (esp. Forrest W., the actor), but wonder if Forrest Gump is too easy to assume? I do, however, love Harper as a first name. And yes, Jasey Rae Long has a very cool vibe to it.

  21. I think that Aaron Long sounds like a pretty solid name for a boy. Not too short, not too long, and straight to the point 🙂 ! It definitely can’t be made into a small playground joke and when I say about the name it naturally sounds appealing to my ears. It’s definitely not one of those names that is extremely over used and I like it alot. I especially like it because it reminds me of Aaron Baker who is a motocross champion and an excellent person.


    Mr. Long: Aaron is a great name, but clearly the literary piece (in the prompt) was not used. I’d love to give you credit…but I can’t until you take on that very specific part of the prompt. Good luck. Look forward to seeing what you come up with!

  22. I think a great name for a girl would be Bailey Lynne. I have loved this name since the day I heard it. I got Bailey from hearing someone else liking that name and ever sense I guess it has just stuck. It might not be original but its a good strong simple name. I got Lynne from my mom because her middle name is Lynne. I picked that name to go with Bailey not only because I think it sounds good together but also because its my moms middle name and I look up to her so much. Most people who have heard me say I like that name disagree with me, but maybe you might consider it. 🙂

    For a boy I like the name Charles. I use to hate this name but after my aunt and uncle named their boy this, I have come to love it. You rarely ever hear the name Charles anymore so it would be original, but simple. There are also good nicknames for the name. You could go with Charlie or even what my aunt and uncle did and they called him Chase.


    Mr. Long: Love Bailey; also think Chase is a great name.

    I’d love to give you credit for this one…but I can’t until you follow the directions. Please re-read the prompt. Think “literature”.

  23. For a retro name I thought of one of my favorite poets/shortstory writers. The name is Edgar from Edgar Allen Poe. Or, you could call him Mark, after Mark Twain. He’s one of my favorite authors. If it was a girl I think that it should be Ellen. You could call her Ell/El/L, maybe even Elli, for a nickname.


    Mr. Long: Could he become “the Edg(e)” and rock out with his Irish band mates, too? (smile). I’d like to see Edgar make a comeback, even though it’s very retro/classic. Now, Eli is very solid and has good possibilities.

  24. I came up with a ton of names, but for your sake and mine, I narrowed the list down to my top 4 names.

    My favorite boy name is Dominic. He is a character in the Protector of the Small series. He goes by Dom. If you name your kid this you could simply call him D. A good friend of my family is named D. My other boy name is Aaron. It is the name of one my brothers’ and could be the nickname for Aragorn. All the letters are there. I personally call my brother Ernie because my family caught on to calling him Aarony. I recently read the Sisters Grimm so currently I like the name Sabrina. I can’t think of any nicknames other than Sabie or Brina. Brina isn’t bad but if someone called me Sabie I would most likely hit them. The other girl name I like has the same potential for the horrible nickname Sabie. It is from one of my favorite books Sabriel. The name is Sabriel. If you don’t like any of those names you can always go for Malingo, from Abarat. Maximus is also a fantastic name (it is one of the nicknames nephew Maximillian).


    Mr. Long: Always like Maximillian. Malingo would be a great nickname. Brina is a nice twist on a familiar name, too. And Dom is fantastic in full and in short.

  25. Jacey or Jasey, works for girls, could with boys, or Jason long for boy that could have nickname Jasey, i don’t know, i kinda like it

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