Harper Collins; $14.99
Comedian and mother of two, Elizabeth Beckwith has honed her stand-up talent and parenting philosophy, both of which stem from awkward childhood experiences and a deeply engrained sense of Catholic guilt, into this hilariously frank, tongue-in-cheek guide to raising children that "you won't be embarrassed to admit are yours." The layout is similar to a textbook, complete with discussion questions and experimental homework assignments. Learn valuable skills, such as how to avoid raising children who may grow up to be a**holes by making an example of the a**holes around them, along with how to manipulate them into believing that they want to make the right decision (in most cases, your decision), without all the stressful, time-consuming arguments and lectures. Beckwith's humor and honesty may just surprise and enlighten you but will mostly leave you in stitches. See Marc Allan's interview with Beckwith, also at nuvo.net. And see Beckwith herself Thursday at Big Hat Books at 6 p.m. and Morty's at 8 p.m.