Laurie Notaro: Toss the Book You Have in Your Purse and Read These Instead

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Instead of Hunger Games, read Mad Puppetstown by MJ Farrell, AKA Molly Keane. Think kids fighting kids in a dystopian society gets your mouth water? Try kids running wild over the countryside in Ireland in the 1900's as war breaks out. In between their roving, hunts and explorations, Easter and her cousins Evelyn and Basil dodge Irish rebels and English officers while continuing with their idyllic privileged childhoods as the estates and manors of their Anglo-Irish neighbors and friends are burned to the ground.

Although their family mansion, Puppetstown, still stands, Easter's family--san one stubborn aunt--are forced to leave for England under threat of violence, unsure if their ancestral home will survive or burn.

To find: This book might take some patience. To locate in hardcover is nearly impossible, unless you're willing to shell out collector's prices, but Virago Modern Classics republished it more recently, so on the used online market, it is amply available, oftentimes for a penny plus shipping.

Instead of reading Bringing Up Bebe, read Auntie Mame by Patrick Dennis. I don't care if you've already seen the classic comedy in movie form staring the glorious Rosalind Russell, this book is funnier. I swear. It is a delightful read, and should serve as the handbook for any parent who wants to raise a balanced, thoughtful, intelligent child who knows how to make a mixed drink by the age of 10.

Your children will be much more enjoyable to be around if they know how to attend to a parent with a hangover and can easily have an affable conversation with an Asian drag queen. Naked preschool, I agree, is a bad idea, but just like any parenting book, you pick and choose what you like. I believe this to be one of the funniest books ever written and that will ever be written. Simply genius on any level.

To find: Any bookstore worth its salt should have this on the shelves already. Scold them if they don't.

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Laurie Notaro