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Their Eyes Were Watching God

Zora Neale Hurston

Karen Stock, 24, a graduate of the University of South Florida, New College with a degree in literature and art history major, works at Bookstop, a bookstore in Tampa.

Stock read Their Eyes Were Watching God three times, and each time she said it seemed different.

"As you change, different things in the book strike a cord in you," she said.

The fictional story is about Janie Crawford, a black woman who marries three times and struggles to find her identity as a woman.

Stock said she enjoyed the novel because it seems like a simple story, but it really has a lot of depth. Stock said one of the themes is self-discovery, something she could identify with each time she read it.

"Everyone is trying to find themselves," Stock said, "and balance what everyone's expectations are and . . . this idea of what you want to be. . . . In the end, (Janie) finds true love. That is what she has been looking for in all the other places."

The story is set in Eatonville, a community near Orlando. When Stock read the book as a college student, one of her projects was to visit the town and keep a journal of what she saw.

"But it wasn't like I imagined it," she said.

Most of the book's Southern black dialogue is spelled phonetically. Stock found it easy to read and beautiful. She said many of the descriptions are very sensual.

One of the passages that Stock particularly enjoyed was toward the end of the book. "Love is lak de sea. Ity's uh movin' thing, but still and all, it takes its shape from de shore it meets, and it's different with every shore."

Collecting dust:

Autobiography of Simone de Beauvoir. Stock started reading the book because of her fascination with French culture. She never finished, however, because Stock said she "had to keep looking up words in the dictionary."

Mind Pool, Charles Sheffield

Terence Ford, 25, a graduate of Hillsborough Community College, expects to attend the University of South Florida in the fall and major in physics.

Ford is a science fiction buff. He said he "reads so much, the books just come in and go out."

But the Mind Pool is one book that has stayed with him.

"The action flowed. It was well-paced," he said.

The novel is set in space, 800 years in the future. It is about four races of space beings that combine forces to fight the Morgan Constructs, cybernetic organisms created by humans.

"The book makes me want to find a sequel," Ford said.

Ford reads four to six books a month. Much of what he reads is science fiction or fantasy, but he also reads non-fiction, too.

Plot is what makes a good science fiction book, Ford said. "I want to read about how what they are dreaming up today will be possible in the future."

Other novels he found exciting were the Robot novels by Isaac Asimov and the Dragonriders series by Anne McCaffrey.

Collecting dust:

Star Trek series. Ford started collecting Star Trek novels about 10 years ago, amassing most in the series up to No. 56. But he couldn't keep up with the publishers, who were printing books faster than he could buy them. Ford stores his books in plastic bags to protect them from dust.

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