Best Baby Names for 2016 by Siobhan Thomas can be currently found in most high street booksellers in Britain with an RRP of £6.99. It was published by Vermilion in November 2015.
Siobhan Thomas is a senior editor of babynames.co.uk, and this book is an updated version of her previous three editions: Best Baby Names for 2013, Best Baby Names for 2014 and Best Baby Names for 2015.
Of standard A5 size and 368 pages, Best Baby Names for 2016, is an averaged sized book, equivalent to most novels.
The book is split into four parts:
- Advice on finding the right name
- Inspiration lists
- A-Z Boys / A-Z girls
The introduction is interesting and (given Siobhan's journalist experience) well written. She describes the journey in how she came to write this book, her experiences growing up with the name Siobhan, and how he came to pick her own children's names (Erin, Cora and Austin). There is also advice on how to best use the book effectively.
The second section is, for me, the most interesting and useful part of the book. It is well written, and gives helpful pragmatic advice. None of it is ground breaking, but for anyone who is floundering, or who doesn't often read baby name blogs or articles, it would be very useful.
Twenty seven pages make up this section of the book with several topics covered, including all the legal requirements in registering a baby's name in the UK, places to find inspiration, spelling variations and advice on how to deal with disagreements with your partner.
The third section covers inspiration lists. While I love name lists -- I think they make a great addition to any name book -- this is the most disappointing section of the book in my opinion. The lists are all very short and usually no more than ten names for each gender in each list. They mostly cover famous people -- Hollywood Names (16 actors listed), TV Names (18 British actors listed), Stage Actors, Famous Comedians, High Achievers, Classical Musicians, Pop Musicians, Hip-Hop Musicians etc -- or names from TV or famous authors -- Game of Thrones, Twilight, Harry Potter, Shakespeare, Bronte, Austen, Dickens. There aren't any 'style' lists other than a 'nature name' list and 'Traditional/Old Fashioned'.
The fourth section is split into two: an A-Z of boys' names and an A-Z of girls' names, displayed in standard dictionary style.
Information and Veracity
The etymology for the names listed in this book is pretty sound and comprehensive -- and I realise that I am one the hardest people to impress in this area and make the worst critic. The majority are accurate and, while I personally would prefer more information for each name, it is generally more comprehensive than most name books on the market.
Each name fits the following model:
Description: (1-3 sentence meaning)
The pronunciation is particularly useful, especially as there is a broad range of Irish, Welsh and Scottish names, as well as those from other cultures (Arabic, Ancient Greek, Hebrew etc). There were some I queried -- Welsh Eira pronounced AIR-a? -- but most were spot on.
With over 8,000 names listed, there is a broad selection to choose from. There are some very obscure choices such as Nausicaa, which I appreciate as a name nerd but I'm not sure that many Brits are going to be swayed into using them.
There are also some strange omissions. Arlo is not listed at all. Already having risen sharply to #141 in 2014, and I would bet my last pound that it will be in the top 100 this year (at least, it will when the 2016 stats are released in August 2017) it is strange for a book titled "Best Baby Names 2016" to miss such a crucial name out. Given that the 'Celebrity Baby' list has its latest addition born in June 2015, it indicates that the book was written around that time, before the release of the 2014 data. This, of course, is understandable with tight publishing dates, but to have a "2016" book based on pre-2014 official data makes it a little skewed, and will always be an issue for any of the many baby name books which claim to have the 'best' baby names for that current year.
This book is great for parents who are looking for a wide range of names, especially those from other cultures or which are a little bit different. The advice section is very useful and would be ideal for a couple who are struggling.
Best Baby Names for 2016 is comprehensive, dictionary style book with useful advice and information. The list section is a little disappointing, as is the slightly unavoidable misnomer of "2016" names, but overall it is a very enjoyable book for a name lover, and a valuable tool for prospective parents.
Click the link below to purchase on amazon.co.uk: