Baby Names cover

What’s in a Name?

The New Baby Name Survey
Lansky
2007

Picture it: there I was, moving out the oldest baby name books from the non-fiction 900s, fairly impressed that they are mostly from the last five years and circulating at a reasonable rate.
Suddenly, I came upon this one, much older than the rest with pages starting to yellow and a paperback cover starting to do that thing where it separates into two distinct pieces of paper, sort of curling up at one edge.

What do I do? Look up my name, obvi. Then I looked up Mary, as one does.

Wow, every name seems to have a really depressing, negative description! Holly is “overly sweet…despite her poor upbringing.” Mary has “a conservative, mousy appearance.” Even biblical names! “Ham” says “what else can you expect when you hear the name Ham? It’s not surprising that people describe Ham as a piggish, rude, and dorky man. They also claim he’s sloppy, ignorant, and totally unappealing to women.” Tough break, dude.

I’m sure there are some nice descriptions that would make you look at your sweet baby and say, “Yes! Sarina¬†is¬†determined and goal oriented with lots of confidence and a sharp mind!” Just ignore the part where she’s also apparently a potential “conniving and snobby backstabber.” Focus on the good part.

Bram Stoker cover

Bram Stoker is Possessed

The Man Who Wrote Dracula: A biography of Bram Stoker
Farson
1975

Submitter: This may not be so much an awful library book as it is an awful book cover. We can see from an inside photo that Stoker was a decent looking guy, so why the demonic possession eye treatment? I’m guessing the publishers wanted to ride The Exorcist wave as this book was published in 1975 after the 1973 film release. Better yet, the author was the great nephew of Stoker, so you think he’d want to honor his relative rather than make him look like an evil character. We have plenty of other (better) Stoker biographies so this one had to go.

Holly: What a strange choice of cover art! I swear I’ve seen this cover before, actually, but it’s not part of my library’s collection and I don’t see it in a previous ALB post. That’s a face you don’t forget, though!