cover image Living Out Loud

Living Out Loud

Anna Quindlen. Random House (NY), $17.95 (278pp) ISBN 978-0-394-56964-2

In this collection of syndicated columns, based in the New York Times and called ``Life in the 30's,'' Quindlen gives ample evidence of why her reflections about herself, the progress of her life and feelings, resonate in a large readership. First, there is relevancy for the ``targeted audience who are in their 30s and share Quindlen's chronology of adulthood, career, marriage and children.'' The author's personal frame of reference informs her memorable articles. For example, recalling the death of her mother when the columnist was 19, Quindlen, oldest of five children in an Irish-Catholic family, speaks of beginning to fashion a life for herself. We share her humor and frustration as she raises two sons, Quin, now four, and Christopher, two, as she longs for a daughter and talks about her lawyer-husband (``I married the person inside the sports jacket''). Quindlen's columns on baby-boomers who negotiate traditional values, such as a piece in which she defines ``cultural Catholic,'' invite controversy; but there is universal appeal in her experi ences of the contemporary world, which she covers with elan and insight. 35,000 first printing. (September)