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IN BRIEF

Nonfiction

May 09, 1993|KAREN STABINER

THINKING OUT LOUD by Anna Quindlen (Random House: $22; 297 pp.). OK, what am I supposed to say about Anna Quindlen that hasn't already been said before? She's a Pulitzer Prize-winning (!) New York Times columnist, now settled on the Op-Ed page, only the third woman to reside there (!), a writer so popular that she was dragged out of child-rearing retirement (!) by the powers that be at the paper, whose previous interest in women journalists had earned them nothing but a class-action sex-discrimination suit. She's one of those women who not only seems to have it all, but has figured out how to juggle it. This collection of her columns is testimony to her skills: She has mastered (mistressed?) the column format, the tight pacing and disciplined writing it requires; her style is both informal and informed, a powerful combination. But more important, she possesses a laser rage and a sense of humor. Usually reading is a silent, solitary activity, with appropriately muted reactions--the dry chuckle, the sigh. I laughed ("The Waiting List," p. 103), I overdosed on empathy ("The Days of Golden Rigatoni," p. 81), I cried ("No Closet Space," p. 27), and I interrupted whatever my husband was doing to tell him why. I also disagreed, vigorously, with a few of the columns, but the point isn't the disagreement, it's the vigorously. Quindlen ignites the reader.

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