Sunlit Pages Turns One: The Story Behind the Name

May 22, 2013

Okay, it's not much of a story. It's not like I was relaxing on a beach in Hawaii, totally engrossed in a novel, when the sunlight suddenly glinted off the page and I thought, That's it! Sunlit Pages!

No, I'm actually embarrassed to admit what a long process the name selection was. If you know me well, you know that I do not make decisions quickly. I was not just going to slap on some bland title like Amy Reads Books and call it good. (Incidentally, amyreadsbooks was not even available on Blogger, even if I had wanted it.)

I wanted something that I would be happy to see every day when I got onto my blog. I wanted something that sounded nice, was memorable, and reflected the love I had for books.

The very first title I thought of was Kindred Books. (You know, like "kindred spirits" from Anne of Green Gables?) Books often felt like friends to me, so I thought this title would be perfect. But after just a couple of days, the name grated on me. It sounded too much like Kinder Books (as in kindergarten), and that was not what I was going for. So I scrapped that name.

Over the next couple of weeks, I came up with hundreds of possible names (Mike contributed his fair share, too.) I took words like "book" and "reading" and looked up every possible synonym. I thought of reading as a journey, as a blissful activity, or as a comforting blanket. I looked up common idioms and tried to change one word so it would sound more bookish. (Unfortunately You Are What You Read or Beating Around the Book just sounded contrived and stupid instead of clever and brilliant.)

When that didn't work, I read through hundreds of quotes about reading, hoping that one of them would contain a phrase that would ring true to me and be short enough to use as a name. I found lots of quotes that I liked ("A book is a gift you can open again and again" by Garrison Keillor or "A good book is the precious lifeblood of a master spirit" by John Milton), but it seemed silly to base an entire blog off of a quote I had just barely read.

So then I turned to the books themselves. Were there any really memorable lines from my favorite books that I could use for a title? I soon realized that this approach could literally take me months since it's hard to search for something as elusive as a good blog name among thousands of other words and sentences. (This is when I needed to suddenly remember a favorite line or randomly come across a catchy phrase, but that longed for "Aha!" moment avoided me.)

All this time, I was collecting names that I thought I might be able to use. These possibilities, together with idioms and quotes, made up an eight-page document (not kidding). I eventually narrowed it down and emailed the list of names to a few bookish family and friends for their opinions. This was the list (yes, this was the short list!):

Storied Steps
Words Meet
Sun-Dappled Reads
Book Content
(using both definitions)
Mostly Sunny with Scattered Reads
(one of the only idiom titles that survived)
Pages for all Ages
The Sunlit Hearth
Contentedly Bookish
Embraceable Books
Pages in the Sun
Books at Home

I think it's obvious from this list that I was leaning towards titles that were happy, cheerful, soothing, comfortable, and friendly. My idea of a perfect summer's day is lying on a blanket under a tree with a good book. (This is why I'm still kind of in love with Sun-Dappled Reads. I think the word "dapple" is so cute and fun, and the dappled light that filters through the leaves of a tree was the exact image I was going for. I nixed it though because I just didn't love the way it looked on the page.)

I wanted my blog to feel like that...something that would invoke those blissful feelings that were both familiar but also somewhat fleeting.

Writing this, I'm realizing that it's hard to put into words exactly why I named this blog Sunlit Pages. After weeks, I think part of me was just ready to settle on something and be done with it. Some days, I love it. Some days, I hate it. Sometimes I cringe when I hear it spoken out loud because it sounds so corny. But mostly, I'm just glad I finally found something that reflected at least one aspect of the way I feel about books.

P.S. So you see that book in my header? The one that is appropriately "sunlit"? Ever since I started this blog, I thought it would be fun to have people guess what book that is. So let's do it now. Leave a comment with your guess. (Hint: it IS a book with a review on this blog.)


  1. Pages for all ages was the name of a local bookstore, now sadly gone out of business.

  2. This sounds so familiar! I did much the same thing when getting my blog up and running. But I obsessed over it for about 8 straight hours until my eyes crossed. I like your title.

  3. "The Count of Monte Cristo." Honestly, I have no idea -- but it's one of my favorite books, and I have a hardcover edition like that. :)

  4. I love the name Sunlit Pages - I think it's perfect! It evokes exactly the image you were going for. It was fun to hear you whole process. I went through a similar one, but the ones I wanted were all taken - The Other Side Of The Story, That's Another Story, etc... and in the end, since (according to the publishing industry) I'm supposed to be getting people to know my name, I just went with my name... kind of boring. As for the book at the top, my guess is Anne Of Green Gables (although I admit I'm new here and don't know if you've reviewed it :))

    1. Susanna - thank you so much! I love the names that you came up with (many of my favorites were already taken, too, so I know what that feels like). It seems like most authors do go with their names, which makes sense...I'm sure it makes it much easier for people to find them. (BTW, we love your picture books. I haven't reviewed any of them on this blog YET but only because of lack of time!)

  5. I'm guessing A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. I love the name you picked, though I think Kindred books is lovely too!

  6. I remember that process... I think you made a great choice! Now I'm going crazy trying to guess what book that is. It must be one that you own, right? I don't know what you own!!! "Uncle Tom's Cabin"? I know you had a paper back copy of that but I also know you really liked it, ahhh. There are two others that came to mind too, hmmm. When are you going to tell us what it is?

  7. How about this? "The Shoemaker's Wife"?


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