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WHO'S READING WHAT

Ever wonder what kind of books other people are interested in? In this feature, we take a look at what some local residents are reading.

Rex Tabor, manager, Doubleday Book Shop, Tampa.

"I just finished Will Self's new book, Cock & Bull (Atlantic Monthly Press, $20). It's going to win the Booker Award in England, which is the equivalent of the National Book Award in the United States and quite a prestigious honor. This is two short novellas in one book. It's comic, probably the funniest book I've read in the last couple of years. The situations are very odd, very unusual. Bull is a man who begins to act and feel like a woman. Cock is a woman who actually grows a penis.

"I think you have to have that dry British sense of humor to get by with this. You're not offended by it. It's really about how they survive horrible situations. It's one of the best novels I've read this year."

Denise Johnson, president, Pinellas chapter of NOW.

"The book I'm reading right now is called Living In the Light, by Shakti Gawain (Whatever Publishing Inc., $8.95).

"It's a self-improvement/psychology book. I find it to be a positive book and another way of looking at yourself in perspective to the whole universe and how we can live in harmony with everybody. She has some different views. One chapter is a new way of life, another on intuition and so on. Sometimes we have problems in our life and it's because we're not listening to our spirits, not in harmony with ourselves.

"She talks about relationships and gives a perspective from the old way and examples from the new way. At the end of each chapter are suggestions on meditating on different things. For instance, some people work their whole lives but aren't doing what they are really seeking to do. So they are unhappy and don't know why. They might be angry about something. When they think about it, maybe they're not being creative in their job. She encourages people to do the things they always thought they'd like to but never dared do.

"It's a valuable book. It gives an upbeat perspective on the world. It makes you think we can control our lives."

Michael Jecmen, house painter and self-proclaimed Renaissance man.

"Where Is Joe Merchant? A Novel Tale, by Jimmy Buffet (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, $19.95) is fiction. Jimmy Buffet started off as a rock musician and most of his songs were like tales. Then when he started writing, his first attempt _ Tales From Margaritaville _ was short stories which was easier for him to handle.

"The main character is called Frank Bama. He has a little seaplane down in the Keys and the tale picks up when an old girlfriend pops back into his life. He bought this sailboat and can't make the payments and the bank's closing in on him. He's got it in his mind he's going to fly off to Alaska, escape.

"But the girlfriend takes him on a wild goose chase. She is the sister of Joe Merchant, who vanished mysteriously, fell off the back of a cruise ship. But she has wind that he's still alive down in the Caribbean and wants to go search for him. She has Frank flying her all around.

"It's an excellent plot with a surprise ending. You can't put it down."

_ Niela Eliason

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