KEEPING IN TOUCH by Ellen Goodman (Summit: $16.95). This collection of recent columns by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ellen Goodman covers four years in a world of continuous change, confusion and surprise. Unceasing curiosity and fresh perspective are the hallmarks of Goodman's Boston Globe column, syndicated in more than 400 newspapers. She writes with level-headed lucidity about people, places, ideas and feelings. It is her job, she notes, "to wrest some sense of meaning out of the current of events." She never claims to have all the answers, but she's got plenty of questions, lots of opinions and a terrific sense of the absurd. She writes with warmth, wisdom and compassion about everything from AIDS to a Republican "adopt-a- contra " campaign to picking Maine blueberries. She can be charmingly wry, too: "Those of us who failed to look like Brooke Shields at 17 can now fail to look like Victoria Principal at 33 and Linda Evans at 41 and like Sophia Loren at 50." "Keeping in Touch" is a treasury of clever and insightful pieces by a woman of substantial perception.