Book Review – Best Baby Names

The Best Baby Names in the World: From around the world
Edited by JM Congemi
Paperback
2000

This book is weird.
First of all, the intro is this long story about how an American dad and Russian mom living in Europe tried to give a name to their kid that would work internationally and if only they had had this book, they would have had an easier time naming their son, David. Um. Yes, I know it’s probably knit-picky to complain about that, but I’m going to anyway. Because the point, I think, of a book like this is to be able to get some awesome international names. And to end up with something biblical sort of means they didn’t really want an awesome international name like this book offers.

As for the book itself. The book is arranged by area, then country, boy then girl. Each name has a pronunciation guide, which I love, definition, and an example of somebody who has the name, if applicable. Which were mostly weak. 1800s queens or presidents of obscure regional churches or the like.

Another issue that I had was that this book had a lot of international names, but – going back to the intro – if the point of the book was really that a multi-cultural family of whatever sort could find a name that was awesome, no matter where they were, why is this book listing so many common names, and why is North America seriously missing? Canada and Mexico have nothing, and the USA has weird stuff like Bobbi-Ann and Barbra (side note, Streisand spelled it wrong on purpose. It’s not a ‘uniquely American’ name, it’s a freakin’ stage name!) and weird ass spellings like Tyfany.

I also wish there would have been a second list where the names were combined instead of only having the segmented list. If you liked a certain sound, for instance, it’d be nice to see them together instead of looking through 20 sections of book.

All that said. The info given was excellent, the book just needed work. If you need a baby name, pick this up. But you may want to get it from the library instead of the bookstore. 4/5

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