June 29, 1981 12:00 PM

by Nancy Bruning

A branch of the Whole Earth Catalog school of literature, this volume includes such random information as how to light a cigarette in a windy place, how to take 35-mm photographs in bright sunlight and how to eat mangoes. Mostly, though, there’s lore about swimming, boating, fishing, sunbathing, tanning, flirting and other waterside pastimes. One does wax skeptical at times about the expertise of Bruning, 33, a Manhattan freelancer. How, for instance, does she know that the finest state-run resort parks are in Kentucky, Alabama, Georgia, Oklahoma, Tennessee and West Virginia? Why, in discussing Lincoln Park Beach along Lake Michigan in Chicago, does she neglect to mention that when swimming there one sometimes has to be careful not to bump into dead ale-wives? Nonetheless, Bruning does offer useful tips on how to find good aquatic spots and enjoy them. She also recognizes that if there is one place to never take oneself too seriously, it is the beach. (Houghton Mifflin, $8.95)

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