THINKING OUT LOUD by Anna Quindlen...

THINKING OUT LOUD by Anna Quindlen (Fawcett: $12; 287 pp.). In this collection of her columns, the Pulitzer Prize-winning political commentator furiously defends Anita Hill, castigates the Ancient Order of Hibernians and others who seek to limit the civil rights of groups to which they don't belong and dismisses Clarence Thomas' ingenuous statement that he never discussed the most pressing legal issue of his day. Although a fervent defender of abortion rights, Quindlen acknowledges other points of view, concluding: "In short, there are many talking points. It is simply that we have not talked. We have taken stands, and stood." The intelligence of most her columns makes it all the more disappointing when she stoops to Erma Bombeck-esque banalities about how men would starve without women showing them how to defrost dinner.

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