In Blackpool, England, one day last week, Sylvia Brumbach could tell she was going to need some telephone books. And not just because she was from out of town and realized that she lacked the numbers for calls she had to make. But instead of dialing directory assistance for help, she placed want ads in the local newspapers. Now, granted, that's not the approach most of us would take, but then Sylvia's requirements were a bit particular. She had to have 500 books that people could spare and they must neither be too old nor have weak spines . You see, she's a performer with the all-female Blackpool Tower Circus who calls herself The Woman of Steel. And part of her act, in addition to lifting weights, juggling bowling balls, and hammering nails with her bare hands, consists of tearing directories in half. Sylvia, who is from Germany, brought 200 with her for the start of the season, April 8. But, with three performances a day , she told reporters, "I've used over half of them already." For her part of the show to go on much longer - the circus isn't scheduled to close until Oct. 22 - a resupply was becoming urgent. Once she has found "the right point to rip," it takes her about 30 seconds to destroy a book.