Lipman's stories at first glance are merely zippy, as comfortable being Nora-Ephron-like journalistic mores-pieces as they are being fiction. Relationships, work, and self deprecation reign--a Yuppie-ish constellation. But the sheer good humor brought to bear here--not the breeziness of anxiety that gives other such work its brittle feel, but true pluck--makes Lipman different, better. A seven-part story follows the screwbally, endearing progress of a love knot tied between Hannah and Tim. Hannah is days from having a baby (no enduring father--a brief business-trip romance) when Tim encounters her at the Motor Vehicles Bureau, where they're both renewing their licenses. Tim falls, Hannah demurs, the baby is born, Tim waits, Hannah capitulates. . .baby all the while making three. What's refreshing here, though, is that Hannah's and Tim's parents have a role too--utter suspiciousness (quite understandable) about whether this dares work or not; and the addition of complicating opinions and voices allows the stories a spacious credibility. No less fine are more discrete stories like ""Thick and Thin"" (a fat woman's crisis of faith) and ""A Daughter Your Age"" (the trials of the terminally shy). Now and again Lipman can turn arch or froth a little too doughtily--but her voice, on balance, is quick, humane, and reassuringly funny.