Thursday, 28 January 2010

What's in a name?


Keep those prize-draw entries coming, still plenty of time to win Scandinavia's finest!

Today's post is a question that's only for bloggers, I'm afraid. I love all you folk who visit without your own blogs, but I want to ask a question to bloggers, about their blog names... how did you choose it??

I guess in a lot of cases it will be obvious what the name means, but I'm interested in how you chose that particular way of naming your blog, and which alternatives you considered first.

Back in 2007 when I was rooting around for a name to attach to my blog, I hit upon 'Stuck in a Book' quite quickly. My criteria were - something with 'book' or 'reading' in the title, to make it obvious what my blog was about; and something beginning with 'S'. That might sound a little silly, but because my name (Simon) begins with 'S', it would have felt funny to be called something which didn't...

And then I had a bit of difficulty, because somebody had already taken stuckinabook.blogspot.com (for an inactive blog which has now disappeared, grr!) hence the addition of hyphens. I did think that people would always forget the hyphens, and end up at Mysterious Blog of Inactivity, but thankfully you're all cleverer than that. Unless there are legions of dissatisfied people coming up against a 'This Blog Has Been Removed' wall...

Perhaps I should mention my favourite blog name. Well, you're all great of course - but the favourite name I've come across so far is... *drum roll please* makedoandread! What an accolade to win. I just love how evocative of the blog it is - the (belated) wartime spirit, the reading priority, the humour. Wonderful.

So, over to you. Why did you choose your blog title, and which other ideas did you discard? And for those of you with obvious blog-name provenance (I'm looking at you, Harriet Devine's Blog, as my example!) what made you choose your name rather than an alias?

I'm hoping for lots of interesting answers - fire away!

41 comments:

  1. I named my blog The Green Room for three reasons. One: because I'm a big fan of theatre, both seeing it and doing it, and I sometimes post musings about theatre. Two: because a green room in a theatre is behind the scenes, it's where actors and crew hang out and talk about whatever they talk about, related to the play or not, and I liked the idea of the blog being behind the scenes both of my thoughts about books and of the books themselves. Two: because green is one of my favourite colours and there's something aesthetically pleasing about a room painted green.

    I don't remember any other names I considered, though.

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  2. Simon, as far as I remember you are the only one who has commented on my blog name being a play on the Beatles' song 'Paperback Writer', which it is; most people seem to think that it means that I don't read hardbacks! It occurred to me at once, I loved it, I used it.

    Great question! I'm looking forward to reading people's answers

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  3. While mine is not a "public" blog, I did take a lot of time over the naming of it. It's mainly a place for me to keep track of my all my reading records and "nerdiness" apart from my hard drive (having had one die last year); and, a place where I dump my brain so that I can remember what I thought was/wasn't appropriate for my soon-to-be high schoolers to read as we go through a four year "great books" study. With that as background, for years I told my friends the only thing keeping me from blogging was a "good blog title."

    I wanted it to have something to do with books, but not be too overly cliche. I came up with "My Reading Skyline," taken from this quote by Charlotte Gray that I found in "A Passion For Books" by Terry W. Glaspey: "The organized soul has one book beside the bed. The glutton sleeps with a New York skyline lurching an inch from the bed."

    I would definitely be a "glutton." :)

    So there you have it, the gestation of a blog title.
    Susan in TX

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  4. This is a great question. I named my blog Julia Hedge's Laces after a character in Virginia Woolf's novel Jacob's Room. Julia is described in the novel as a feminist and we first meet her waiting for her books to arrive in the British Library. So there was a reading reference and using her seemed to evoke both my interest in Woolf and the First World War. Plus a few years ago when I was a graduate student, I had fun giving a seminar on Woolf's gendered use of footwear in that novel. Julia Hedge's laces are untied - I thought it was the perfect image for a blog, where we try to articulate or "tie up" our random loose, thoughts. And what woman (or dedicated walker) doesn't love shoes?

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  5. I think mine is rather obvious but I'll share anyway! "We" since it's two generations of readers and then the "Be Reading" for the assonant value of the words. "We Are Reading" just wouldn't have had the same ring to it.

    I considered a lot of blog names before I chose this one (even ones using pseudonyms) but I can't find where I wrote them down right now. But we went for something clear and simple and I'm happy with it!

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  6. I selected "Of Interest to Me" because I couldn't decide on whether to focus on books, cooking, gardening, or travel. Which, by the way, I write a bit about all of the above.

    Sometimes I think it sounds snooty and I've thought of changing it. But I'm not clever enough to come up with anything else.

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  7. I'm just gobsmacked by this. Thank you!

    I chose my name because I'd recently been laid off, and had begun to feel a bit anxious and angsty about the future. What was I going to do? So I read. I've had to do less of the 'making do' than I had expected, because I'm very lucky to have wonderful libraries near me and friends who send me books. And because I still find excuses to walk past the used bookstore!

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  8. Another blogger/writer (Andrew Blackman) asked me a year ago why I gave my blog that name. I replied that I had no idea, it just popped into my head and sounded good. After a while I realized it's a play on my first and middle names and I chose it unconsciously. :)

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  9. I read the charmingly illustrated "The City of Dreaming Books" by Walter Moers and Booklings are creatures in it. The little sketch that illustrates my blog header is one and they just rather appealed! Plus I like how the word sounds when read out...

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  10. Dear Simon, Dark Puss does have a weblog (I refuse to use that ugly "b-word")! It is currently an experiment to see if I have anything worth saying and it has a prevalence of pictures rather than text. So far it has one "book review", though you would I think feel it a rather poor effort!

    It is named after a cat belonging to a photographer and model that I work with occasionally; of course I work with the photographer and not her cat!

    Perhaps one day I'll reveal it to you - but if you knew me as well as Cornflower does then guessing the name would be trivial!

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  12. Kids and Capers because that is what my life is about!

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  13. I was asked years ago if I started a readers group what would it be called. I said possibly The Octogon because the ideal membership would aim to be about 8 people. The readers group didn't happen so the blog got the name instead.

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  14. I picked "joyeuce" after the central character in Elizabeth Goudge's Towers in the Mist, because it's one of my favourite books and because I could (and still can) see a certain resemblance.

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  15. Roses over a cottge door represent the quintessential image of village life in England. It's one that makes me smile and feel so relaxed in a world that spins much too fast. I have some dear friends at work and whenever we have new staff, I say 'Should I tell them that I'm from England?'. To which they always laugh and say 'But you're not!'. I know this on every level but it's fun to pretend.

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  16. Mine is in the main just my surname and reads because that what it is. I also liked the sound of 'Savidge' phontically ening Savage so the idea was to make it sound like i read savagley rather than review savagely. I had a few other ideas but most of them had gone.

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  17. I chose Considering All Things Literary for a couple of reasons. I'm a big NPR fan, and it reminded me of All Things Considered. Also, I do book reviews and talk about bookish sorts of things, but I also talk about library-related issues. "Literary" combined both of those elements, I thought. I can't rememer any I considered and rejected!

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  18. I am deeply embarrassed by my blog name. I wish I had thought of something clever like the rest of you. It sounds as if I am blowing my own trumpet -- implying that people will have heard of me and be dying to know what I have to say -- and I honestly did not mean it like that. I just couldn't think what to call it and so used my own name by default. I have often thought of changing it but feel I am now stuck with it for better or worse.

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  19. When I was at Cornell studying Urban Planning we got into a discussion about how important front porches have been in American culture and how their disappearance from the fronts of homes (usually replaces by a double garage)has further hindered Americans from interacting with one another.

    Plus I just love Samual Barber's piece for soprano and orchestra Knoxville Summer of 1915 which takes its text from James Agee's A Death in the Family. The piece begins: "It has become the time of evening when people sit on their porches..." It reminds me of my childhood in smalltown Minnesota.

    Incidentally, I explained all of this in my inaugural post in June 2006. http://myporchblog.blogspot.com/2006/06/inaugural-post-name.html

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  20. What an interesting question! Pondering it has made me realise that I cannot remember which other blog names I considered, or how in the end I plumped for skirmishofwit. Much Ado About nothing is one of my favourite Shakespearean plays, and I have always loved the line 'there's a skirmish of wit between them.' Hmm, talk about setting the bar high, I just wish I could live up to my blog's name a little more ;)

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  21. I named by blog Boarding in my Forties because at the time I started writing, I had just learned to snowboard. Being a woman in my forties I was pretty proud of that. The whole snowboarding experience was a metaphor for me stretching my wings a bit and trying new things. Sometimes I think it would be better to have a book-related name for my blog but after a few years of blogging, I don't want to change it!

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  22. My blog is named Thicket House because it was the name of a business my husband and I set up for a brief time so he could buy some picture framing equipment which didn't seem to be available except to businesses at the time. And we chose the name then because his mother's home in pre-WWI Hungary was Sovenyhaza which might be translated as Hedge House or Thicket House. My blog is not very public, mostly for family. I began it after my husband had died and named it in honor of his memory.

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  23. Simon has done me a huge favor. I have always wondered about the meaning of the name Boarding in my Forties. Most other blog names you can kind of figure out, but that one always had me confused. Thanks for explaining Kathleen!

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  24. Hibernian Homme is based on my heritage, Irish, Italian and French. Hibernia was the name given to the Irish isle by the ancient Romans. Homme is obviously man in Francais. H. and H. though one is silent.

    I love yours Simon! It jumped out at me as soon as I saw it! And these were all intriguing answers.

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  25. Thanks for all your wonderful responses, it's been such fun reading your answers! Too sleepy to reply to them all today, but just wanted to say to Harriet - don't be embarrassed, I didn't mean to embarrass you! It doesn't sound at all egotistical to me, just that you used your name like Simon S and others have done. If there weren't millions of Simon Thomases everywhere, I might have done it too...

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  26. Mine was because I couldn't think of anything else. I'd wanted to start a blog since I was made redundant because I needed things to do, and as I'd been doing a lot of reading it seemed like a good place to start, but without a name nothing was happening. Desperate just summed up my state of mind at the time. I don't really like it but I feel like it fits me now.

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  27. Thanks for this post, Simon. I've come back to check it a couple of times because the answers are so interesting to read!
    Susan in TX

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  28. Thanks for the kind words -- but you didn't embarass me, I embarassed myself, and am quite glad to have had a chance to say my piece about it.

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  29. I went through 2 different names before I came up with my current one.

    The first one was pretty boring - Becky's Book Reviews. My name is Becky and it was about book reviews. My url was beckysbookreviews aswell.

    Then I decided that I wanted something more interesting and book related. Something that felt more comfortable, so I changed the name to The Book Nook. The url remained the same.

    It still didn't feel quite right though, and I wanted the title of my blog to match the url.

    I wanted something that suggested how I feel about my book, and hwat I love about them. I had already decided that one day I wanted to open a second hand book shop, and had already decided to call it Page Turners. What I love about books is how they draw you in until you can't help but read and I thought that this name reflected that feeling.

    Then I thought, why am I sabing it for my bookshop? So I named my blog Page Turners and changed my url to pageturnersbook.blogspot.com

    There you have it.

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  30. I chose my name out of sheer panic as I started filling in the form on Typepad without planning a title at all and then I was asked to do so. Mind a total blank and then up came Random Thoughts which is what I thought it would probably be, but then wanted a link with writing, so discard Random Scribe, Random Scribbles, Random Pen ...getting into a tizzy and then Random Jottings and that was that. If I had had time to think of a name I daresay I might have come up with some wonderfully literate quote, but in the end used a title which I am very happy with.

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  31. How interesting!
    I am very chuffed with The Pygmy Giant. Somebody called me that once - I think it was probably James Edwards-Smallbone. One of the nicer jibes about my height. But it fits a flash fiction magazine perfectly, I think... fiction with a big heart, in a small body. That's the idea :)

    (My actual blog, 'Mel is a Geek', is, I think, self-explanatory. It was a piece of abuse from Steve Corbin. My friends' insults have clearly come in handy. That's my life for you.)

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  32. err the makedoandread gave me a slight startle...as my name's andrea and for a moment..I wondered why and what. A moment of uncertainty.:)

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  33. My husband and I love to write and decided that we would blog abuot things and experiences we have both enjoyed. The focus of the blog was to give an outlet for writing - and we decided to name the blog "Shades of Words" - inspired from Tennyson's famous lines - "For words, like Nature, half reveal , And half conceal the Soul within."

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  34. Interesting comments!

    I came up with the name of my blog, 'Critique in C Sharp Minor', (which I've been too lazy to maintain of late) by random luck. I wanted the name to be related to music, dance and theatre.
    I started with the 'Critique' part, which made sense as I started the blog in order to post my reviews & comments on what I saw - and then got stuck. So, I wrote out all possible musical keys, put them in a hat and plucked one out.

    Luckily, 'C Sharp Minor' flows nicely!

    The best blog name I've ever come across is Alex Ross's 'the rest is noise'.

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  35. For what it's worth at this late stage, I chose Asylum for my blog because I wanted it to be a place of peace and reflection for me, away from the occasional personality clashes I'd seen on discussion forums. It's a coincidence that it's also the name of a fine novel by the much-admired (by me) Patrick McGrath. It later occurred to me that it was quite a handy name because, beginning with an A, it ends up near the top of most blogrolls that it's on.

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  36. I chose Shelf Love because Shelf Esteem was taken, and I'd made a list of dozens of others that were taken, too. Unoriginal! Totally unoriginal! Yet expressive of love of books, which is more or less what I wanted.

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  37. I was trying to come up with a name for a book and reading blog when I ran across a column in a 19th century literary magazine called Corner of the Library. (I love Google Books!) As it has turned out, I have used it mostly to post printable bookmarks made from illustrations in 19th centry books (again thanks to Google Books). So I invite all to visit my Corner of the Library.

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  38. I followed the weekly link from Kittling:Books website and have thoroughly enjoyed reading all these comments!

    I came upon the blogging world a year after my son left for college. While I was proud of his accomplishments, I was quite sad to be losing my buddy. To help me ease the pain....I used his room as my reading place and quickly dubbed it "my nook"

    When I finally decided to try my own hand at blogging, I knew that I wanted to focus the blog on books. The newly furnished nook was the inspiration for my first blog name "the book nook" That name was taken. I then attempted "my book nook" - which was also taken.

    Finally, I decided to focus the name on what I love most about this personal space and the description of cozy was the perfect adjective. I therefore decided to name my blog "my cozy book nook" in an attempt to put readers at ease and help them relax and ponder bookish thoughts in this very fast-paced world.

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  39. I always spend too much time thinking of appropriate names, but chasing bawa came pretty quickly as it summed up my life. I'm half Sri Lankan and every time we are in Sri Lanka we spend all our time going around the country looking for, having tea and staying in beautiful houses and hotels designed by the architect Geoffrey Bawa. Hence chasing bawa!

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  40. What a fun topic, so many interesting answers!

    I wanted a name that had "YA" in it (my genre of choice) and would also get across that I'm an aspiring author. I settled on "YA" + "wannabe" = "YAnnabe". Which looks fine on paper, but it's hard to say out loud when I meet people at conferences and I always have to spell it out!

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  41. I named my blog after me, that way if someone was trying to find me, they just had to google my name.

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