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.