27th out of 41 books — 15 voters
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Beyond Jennifer & Jason: The New Enlightened Guide to Naming Your Baby
Until 1988, nearly all baby-naming books were merely dictionaries: long, dull lists of names with their definitions. But then Beyond Jennifer & Jason-- the first enlightened guide to naming your baby-- was born, to tell parents-to-be what they really want to know: which names are hot, and which names are on their way up or down. Now the book that revolutionized baby na ...more
Paperback, 334 pages
Published March 15th 1995 by St. Martin's Paperbacks
(first published 1988)
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Even though I'm not about to have a baby, this book was recommended to me simply for being an interesting study of baby names. I went in thinking it was going to be all about perceptions (ie Elizabeth's are thought of as high class, while Bessies aren't), but it was a bit more convoluted than that, even. Rather than list names and their traditional meanings like a standard baby name book, this looks at different angles like style, family names, tradition, etc. It's basically 400 pages of names i ...more
May 06, 2009 Heather Moss rated it 5 of 5 stars · review of another edition
I collect baby name books because I have always loved names. This is one of my favorites (and others by these authors) because they have many lists, not just the typical A to Z, archaic name-meaning type format. I wish more people would heed this and stop naming their kids Madison. What a stupid name.
This baby-naming book features not just lists of names but rather a fun romp through the images attached to many names. They'll give you names that feel classic, or names that were popular in a certain era, or names with Biblical roots, or a range of names from feminissa to macho. They tell you what the stars and celebrities are doing with their baby names. They tell you what names are too associated with another image to make practical sense for current use. And they give you ideas on how to co ...more
I LOVE baby name books, and I think that the "Beyond Jennifer and Jason" books are the best. What makes them different is the format. This isn't a dictionary of baby names, it's a series of lists: top baby names in other countries, ethnic names, no-nonsense names, etc. There are helpful lists of unusual substitutions for ultra-popular names, too, and there's an index in the back so that you can see which lists your favorite names fall on.
I had the original edition in junior high and I read it s ...more
I had the original edition in junior high and I read it s ...more
Oct 01, 2007 Crystal rated it 4 of 5 stars · review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone looking for a name, for a baby, pet, or book
This is one of the best, most helpful baby name books I've ever read. while it doesn't include meanings for the names, what it does instead is break up names into various categories. For example, most popular names in the US on a certain year. so if you want to give your kid a trendy/ popular name, you can pick one from that list. if you want to protect your child from being one of 50 of the same name in their classes, then don't pick any of those names. there's breakdown by most popular in othe ...more
As far as baby names books go, this one is by far the best one I've read. Mostly because it actually gives you something to read besides just an alphebetical list of baby names and what they mean. These authors take a look at current naming styles, tell you what trends have been going on, tell you which names are starting to become over used, etc. The pull name ideas from lots of different places, and give you other places to look to find even more names. The give you lots of different ways to f ...more
I started reading these books about 15 or so years ago when I was expecting my first child, and they are by far the best baby name books ever written. The way the authors categorize names into lists: "On the way out...". "Always in..". "Never In Again" "movie star names" etc. are hilarious, so true, and very creative. What is more, they are right on the mark. If you've ever heard a name, such as Melissa, and immediately without even thinking, thought a word such as "bossy," then these books are ...more
Jan 01, 2009 Seth Jenson rated it 3 of 5 stars · review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
Recommended to Seth by: Debbie Jenson
Didn't read every single word of this book but I turned over every page and came up with a pretty good list of names. Meg and I have a lot of eliminating to do but at least we have a start now. My sister-in-law also let us borrow her copy of Cool Names For Babies, and so maybe we'll come up with a few more "cool" possibilities with that book. Then we need to give the old family tree a good shake. We want to find a name that's just right for our soon-to-be-born son. We don't want to end up someth ...more
I first read this in my teens, in its inaugural edition, when it was known simply as Beyond Jennifer and Jason. (Actually, I first read an excerpt from it in Glamour magaszine when it was a "forthcoming book", and bought it as soon as it was first printed.) It was then, and in its current edition still is the definitive name book, as far as I'm concerned. The authors not only provide entertaining reading, but give prospective parents food for thought as they consider names for their child-to-be. ...more
I've been reading every baby naming book I can find lately, and I found this one to be abnormally useful and insightful. It doesn't just give endless lists of names and definitions, but it includes lots of information about how people perceive names, how people of different backgrounds and education levels name their children, and information that really gave me a good idea of how people would react to the names I'm considering slapping onto my children. It's a little outdated, which is unfortun ...more
Aug 07, 2007 Audrey Babkirk Wellons rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who love naming things
OK, I know this is going to seem like I want to be knee-deep in babies, but I once owned several editions of this book. It combines two things I love: lists and names. There's everything from "RAF fighter pilot names" (Sebastian, Clive) to grandma & grandpa names" (Evelyn, Ben) to names you should never give your baby (Hercules, Lolita). What it does not have are name origins. So if you want to know that Geoffrey means "wizened blackberry bush," you'd best look elsewhere. (No offense to the ...more
Donated it once I was done naming my 2 kids - I didn't want anything popular, trendy, or so unusual that they'd be alienated. It was important that their names have meanings (preferably Celtic) and be easy to spell and pronounce. When I chose 'Aislynn' I had never heard of her name before, and neither had a lot of other people. It means a vision or a dream. When I put it together with her middle name Elyse ( a variation of Elizabeth) it means: A vision or a dream consecrated by God. Indeed.
Feb 13, 2008 Cabryn Taylor rated it 4 of 5 stars · review of another edition
Recommends it for: moms-to-be
This is the only baby name book I own. Most of them I check out from the library. I got this one while pregnant with my first and while the categories are nice, I ended up in the Index looking at all the names at once. I got sick of reading through each page of how popular this name was or how many celebrities named their child this one. It does have a variety of names that alot of other books are now starting to include. Pregnant with my second, this is the first book I flipped through.
Mine is an even older edition, so it is dated, but I'm not planning on naming any babies anyway, so this is still a fun and unusual dip into the trends associated with names, with thought given to the implications and associations of different types of names. I don't know how scientific their impressions are--whether for example, they base their impression on whether a name is "feminine" on studies on orn their own reactions--but sitll interesting.
Mar 17, 2010 Kara rated it 4 of 5 stars · review of another edition
Recommended to Kara by: Brooke Green
Rather than being set up simply alphabetically the book has sections on 'Place Names', 'Word Names', 'Reality TV Names', and close to 100 other sections. There is interesting information between each section, like boy names that have become girl names. The only down side of dividing the book in this way is that there were instances where names were repeated multiple times, in multiple sections.
Same author as Beyond Charles and Diana: An Anglophile's Guide to Baby Naming, so it is the same type format. More extensive and obviously has more U.S. based names, including the typical celebrity name lists.
This is, essentially, a collection of lists of names. The really useful thing about it, though, is that they are grouped according to a variety of possible genres, and it is easy to see spelling variations, popularity, and meanings of names, as well as other possible options. There is also a very amusing section with a list of celebrity baby names.
Okay, I've never had a kid or been close to it, but I've always been interested in names. This was pretty fun and quite fascinating at times. It gave namers things to think about when pairing names or to consider when selecting a cultural name. I liked it enough to keep it around... if nothing else I can use it to choose names for characters in my books!
Oct 01, 2007 Crystal rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: parents trying to name their baby, authors looking for character names
This is the original Beyond naming book, and was what got me hooked. I loved it and kept it as a reference, and was delighted when I heard that the authors had updated the book to reflect the changes of recent culture. Go for the updated Madison and Montana version if possible, but if not, this is still a fascinating read a great resource.
This was a unique baby name book in that it grouped names by "type" rather than alphabetical. For example, there was a list of comfy names such as Gracie and Ellie. It was interesting to see what group of names I was attracted to, but it still did not help me come up with any new names. I am still on the search...
I loved this book. I used it to name characters in stories I wrote and to plan out names for my future children, lol. I still love it... it has more names and more fun information about names (ethnicity, meaning, trends, funny anecdotes, that kind of thing) than any other baby name book I've read.
I love books about naming trends. This is one of the best, a book that not only has heaps of usual and unusual names but talks about their images and nationalities and whatnot. I have a few of their books including the one on cool names, which helps a lot to name my characters in my books.
This book has some useful advice on choosing names and a plethora of lists of names by trendy, biblical, fashionable, boys names becoming popular for girls, origin and more. However, after finishing the book my husband and I are not any closer to choosing a name....
I read an older version, but I'm sure it doesn't change much. Alan and I have only agreed twice on names, and since can't come up with anything we both really like. So I like reading through baby name books to come up with something we might agree on.
I actually bought this book because I was interested in historical naming trends, not because I was actually having a baby. I thought it was fascinating. I found it to be an interesting commentary on society in general.
Jun 18, 2008 Brittany rated it 4 of 5 stars · review of another edition
Great, as far as baby-naming books go. It was more of a discussion of names and naming trends than just a list of names and their meanings. I read it through it like a regular book.