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Beyond Jennifer & Jason: An Enlightened Guide to Naming Your Baby
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Beyond Jennifer & Jason: An Enlightened Guide to Naming Your Baby

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  259 ratings  ·  52 reviews
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 naming i ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 496 pages
Published September 1st 1990 by St. Martin's Press
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3.70  · 
Rating details
 ·  259 ratings  ·  52 reviews

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Kaethe Douglas
Jul 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

The only really useful baby name book I ever saw. Now I suppose you can find more and more pertinent info on the interwebs, but before I ever reproduced this book taught me how I think about names, and how to choose them.

Library copy
Anna (Bananas)
All the names are blurring together. I may have to name her Hey You.
Nicole Huetter
Oct 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
We already had a name picked out but still a super interesting read (and fun to see where our name and others we considered popped up!)
Apr 17, 2018 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bpl
"The world is a very different place today than it was when we undertook the last update of this book in the late 1990s. We've gone from boom times to bust, a nation at peace to one at war, from a country embracing the wider world to one that's become both more xenophobic and patriotic."
How weird is it that a baby-naming book should have the best summation of the changes 9/11 and the "War on Terror" had on our country?
Oct 19, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 10, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone looking for a name, for a baby, pet, or book
Shelves: non-fiction
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
Jan 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Julie Decker
Jul 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
I’ve never had to name a child yet I’m fascinated by the origin, meaning, and history of names. I found the original ‘Beyond Jennifer and Jason’ at a used book store a few years ago and enjoyed it immensely. I love this newer version too. Did you know that Alice and Evelyn were originally boys names? Did you know that Betta is one of the nicknames for Elizabeth? Did you know that a boy born midvoyage on the Mayflower was named Oceanus? This book is full of fun name facts. Names are also divided ...more
Seth Jenson
Jan 01, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  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
Mar 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
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
Jul 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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
Erika Nelson
Sep 27, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Audrey Babkirk Wellons
Aug 07, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Cabryn Taylor
Feb 13, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: moms-to-be
Shelves: baby-names
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.
Jobiska (Cindy)
Jul 26, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: guide
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.
Oct 01, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents trying to name their baby, authors looking for character names
Shelves: non-fiction
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.
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!
Mar 17, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  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.
Rachel C
Jan 02, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pregnancy
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.
Apr 26, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
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...
Shilo Quetchenbach
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.
Aug 01, 2008 rated it really liked it
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.
Jan 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010, 2011, baby-names
One of the most extensive books I read on baby names - it has almost too many lists to get through. I'd read a little very night. So, while it was the longest, most tedious baby name book - it also had the widest variety of baby name books I've read so far.
From an old journal entry of mine; "Given to me for our 8th wedding anniversary by Wayne. A reprieve from 'Sacajawea' it was lighthearted and gave me some good ideas for baby's name (which is a secret until baby is born!)"
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.
Sep 25, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
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.
Feb 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
I always find name meanings and origins interesting. I started skimming this book and ended up reading the whole thing. Presented in an interesting way with funny quotes interspersed, it's a fun way to look at baby names.
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