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Book Bag

TRAFALGAR

By Angélica Gorodischer

Small Beer Press

www.smallbeerpress.com

Argentinian writer Angélica Gorodischer, now in her 80s, has produced science fiction, fantasy and crime fiction. Though little of her work has been translated, “Kalpa Imperial,” released in English in 2003, won considerable praise in the United States.

“Trafalgar” was published in Spanish in 1979. Small Beer Press in Easthampton will release the English edition, translated by Amalia Gladhart, in February.

It is the story of Trafalgar Medrano, an energetic Argentinian who runs an import-export business, loves good coffee, wine and food, and enjoys literature and poetry. What stands out about him, aside from his wealth and bonhomie, is that his business takes him to other planets and star systems — or so he says.

Trafalgar is fond of telling friends and the various unnamed narrators of the story about his improbable visits to other worlds, including one that looks just like Earth did in 1492. His journeys often involve comical disasters, which can leave his listeners a bit skeptical.

“The combination of rain and coffee reminds me of the feast of the lightning bolts on Trudu,” Trafalgar tells one lunch companion. “Did I ever tell you about Trudu?”

“No,” comes the response. “But I imagine it’s somewhere where it always rains and where coffee comes out of the faucets instead of water.”

Publishers Weekly writes that Gorodischer takes conventional fantasy tropes “in entertaining directions that both evoke golden-age roots and transcend them with a layer of absurdism.”

JOB SECURITY: BE THE LAST EMPLOYEE STANDING

By Michael Bradley

Two Harbors Press

www.Jobsecurity.biz

For 37 years, Michael Bradley was immersed in the pressure-cooker world of sales, promoting products from pharmaceutical giant Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. to doctors’ offices and hospitals in western Massachusetts. Now retired, the Longmeadow resident has used his experience to describe what you need to succeed in your job.

Bradley, who says he racked up top sales honors, writes in “Job Security” about how to succeed in the workplace. He recommends a proactive approach — learning all you can about company history and policy, for instance, as well as your colleagues.

“Don’t be afraid to ask questions,” he writes. “Be a copious notetaker. Keep track of names and all you know about those people. ... Mentioning a child by name in conversation with a difficult client often broke the ice for me.”

Bradley touches on other areas — being loyal to a boss and company, looking for ways to acquire additional skills and training, keeping a positive attitude, being flexible — that may seem like common sense but which, he notes, can be overlooked by people caught up in a fast-paced work environment.

“Whatever your job ... your ability to relate to people and make them feel important has a direct bearing on your success,” Bradley writes. “For me, starting out with good people skills helped, but I learned so much more throughout my years on the job. Now, it’s important to pass that knowledge on.”

“Job Security” is available through the author’s website and at Amherst Books in Amherst and the Odyssey Bookshop in South Hadley.

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