book reviewI have a lot of baby name books. I’ve read even more.

And that’s why I’m always pleasantly surprised to discover that a baby name book can be completely new and different.

Alix Brown’s just released Trending and Timeless Baby Names + The Name Mentor’s Guide to Peacefully Crafting Your Baby’s Name is something completely different.

Instead of a long list, it’s a carefully curated set of names, along with dozens of possible combinations. (I can only imagine how hard it was to whittle down those lists!)

Oh, and did I mention that it’s just flat-out gorgeous?

Here’s a sneak peek at the book:

Much of the book focuses on a careful walk through the many decisions that go into naming your child. I particularly appreciate the section on honor names, or, as Alix titles it, “Honoring Essence.” She makes a strong case that … It’s okay to say ‘This is amazing for someone I love who is from a different time’ and then talks us through finding a name that works – for everyone!

She offers good advice on building a name, along with honesty. “Opinionated opinions are are hard to navigate.” So true! And I love her approach to popularity rankings (she just plain doesn’t include them) and meanings, which she touches on, while not getting too technical about etymology.

It’s delightfully random, too. Get this: the names aren’t even listed in order! Una comes many pages before Felicity.

While there are only 50 boy and 50 girl entries, it’s worth noting that her possible combinations dominate the book. And there are dozens upon dozens more names included there.

Just for fun, I’m going to choose my ten favorite boy combinations, plus ten for girls.


  1. Isobel Vesper
  2. Cassia Quinn
  3. Margot Briony
  4. Luella Kate
  5. Tess Eliza Primrose
  6. Evalince Opal
  7. Caia Holiday
  8. Birdie Jessamine
  9. Maren Adelaide
  10. Rosamund River


  1. Tennyson Judah
  2. Remy Silas
  3. Dashiell Grey
  4. Boone Hollis
  5. Declan Ridge
  6. Ames Calder
  7. Axel Everet
  8. Matthew Evren
  9. Koa Evander
  10. Rafe Atticus

I could go on – and on! If I picked up the book in another week, betcha I’d choose a different set of favorites.

While unisex names aren’t expressly addressed, names do appear freely across lists. I think that’s a very twenty-first sensibility. Likewise, there’s no section on “nature” or “virtue” names, but they’re woven throughout the book.

In many ways, it’s more coffee table book than practical guide – though there’s lots of useful advice here, too.


But I think the strength of Alix’s effort is clear: it puts joy and love back at the center of naming our children. It’s part of the equation that’s all too easy to overlook, and I’m grateful to her for shaping this guide that restores some of that positivity to what should be a happy process, part of growing our families and thinking through our most cherished beliefs.


Alix was kind enough to send me a copy of her book.

To pay it forward, I’d love to send a copy to one of you!

If you’d love to get your very own copy of Trending and Timeless Baby Names + The Name Mentor’s Guide to Peacefully Crafting Your Baby’s Name, please fill out this form.

The winner must have a US shipping address and provide a valid email so I can follow-up. (Please note that I won’t do anything with your email, other than contact the winner for a shipping address.) I’ll choose the name at random and announce it on Sunday, July 5th in that weekend’s Sunday Summary.

About Abby Sandel

Whether you're naming a baby, or just all about names, you've come to the right place! Appellation Mountain is a haven for lovers of obscure gems and enduring classics alike.

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