Published Essays By Anna Quindlen Columns

In this remarkable book, Anna Quindlen, one of America’s favorite novelists and a Pulitzer Prize– winning columnist, once again gives us wisdom, opinions, insights, and reflections about current events and modern life. “Always insightful, rooted in everyday experience and common sense...Quindlen is so good that even when you disagree with what she says, you still love the way she says it,” said People magazine about her number one New York Times bestseller Thinking Out Loud, and the same can be said about Loud and Clear.

With her trademark insight and her special ability to convey the impact public events have on ordinary lives, Quindlen here combines commentary on American society and the world at large with reflections on being a woman, a writer, and a mother. In these pieces, first written for Newsweek and The New York Times, Loud and Clear takes on topics ranging from social change to raising children, from the political and emotional aftermath of September 11 to personal values, from the impact on individuals of global events to the growth that can be gained by spending summer days staring into the middle distance. Grounding the public in the private, connecting people to each other and to the greater world, Quindlen encourages us to develop authentic lives, even as she serves as a catalyst for political and social change.

“Anna Quindlen’s beat is life, and she’s one hell of a terrific reporter,” said Susan Isaacs, and Quindlen’s unique qualities of understanding and discernment, everywhere evident in her previous bestsellers, including A Short Guide to a Happy Life and Living Out Loud, can be found on every page of this provocative and inspiring book.


From the Hardcover edition.

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GRAD SCHOOLING: The funniest graduation speech delivered thus far in the 00's was probably Tony Kushner's, given last spring at Columbia. Kushner had discovered he was not the university's first choice to speak (Jon Stewart was), and he stepped up to the podium and said: ''I think I should begin by acknowledging your disappointment that I am not Jon Stewart. Think how I feel. Your disappointment that I am not Jon Stewart will last one morning; I am disappointed at not being Jon Stewart every morning of my life.'' Funny graduation speeches, alas, are rarely turned into bite-size books to be marketed around the time of later graduations. Earnest speeches frequently are. Anna Quindlen's new book, ''Being Perfect,'' is based on the graduation speech she gave at Mount Holyoke in 1999. And Maria Shriver's new book, ''And One More Thing Before You Go . . . ,'' is expanded from a luncheon speech she delivered not long ago to graduating high school girls and their mothers. (Shriver's bold advice includes ''Learn from your mistakes'' and ''You'll need a lot of courage.'') Shriver's book hits the hardcover miscellaneous list this week at No. 3, pushed along by an appearance on ''Oprah,'' during which Oprah introduced her by intoning the 11 words every woman with a new book dreams of hearing from her: ''My old girlfriend, old, old, old, we go so far back.'' FREAK FACTOR: ''If Indiana Jones were an economist, he'd be Steven Levitt.'' That's a Wall Street Journal reviewer's take on Levitt, a 37-year-old University of Chicago economist whose new book, ''Freakonomics,'' written with Stephen J. Dubner, enters the hardcover nonfiction list at No. 5. But ''Freakonomics'' is so sly, finicky and micro-observant that the Indiana Jones comparison feels a little off -- Levitt is more like the Nicholson Baker of economists. His specialty is asking some unusual questions: ''How is the Ku Klux Klan like a group of real estate agents?''; ''Why do drug dealers still live with their moms?'' The answers tend to be provocative. The most eye-popping assertion in ''Freakonomics'' may be that the drop in crime during the 1990's had little to do with a strong economy or new police strategies. The real reason, Levitt says, was Roe v. Wade. ''An entire generation came of age minus the children whose mothers had not wanted to bring a child into the world,'' he and Dubner write. ''Legalized abortion led to less unwantedness; unwantedness leads to high crime.'' On NPR, Scott Simon asked Levitt if it was true he'd been offered a job in the Bush administration. Yes, Levitt said, then added, ''I told them you better go back and look at the study I did on the link between abortion and crime and if you're still interested, call me back, and I never did get that return phone call.'' Dwight Garner

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