I am writing to you because I want to know about investments. How can I invest my money and how can I defeat inflation? -- C.P. Your question is so vast, I can only offer a few suggestions. First, I suggest you send for the free Reading List offered to "Moneywise" readers. Send a self-addressed, stamped No. 10 (long) envelope to Moneywise, Box 102, Mercer Island, Wash. 98040. Request "Reading List." It suggests a variety of books that will get you started on learning about investments. Second, look around your community for evening courses on investment analysis, personal financial planning, and similar titles being taught in university, community college, and high school evening school classes. Third, attend any seminars offered by stockbrokers or others on investing in stocks, gold, real estate, and limited partnerships. Fourth, read the Wall Street Journal, Business Week, Forbes, Finance Week, Barron's, and similar periodicals to keep up with current developments. Fifth, set up a fund of $10,000 or more in paper money and pick stocks, bonds, or real estate investments to see how you do before putting up your real cash. Watching specific investments, even if they are only on paper, helps you learn both the ups and downs of inv esting in practice.