User 326 Batch, Started. Tracking: 32 / 100. Books: Array
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[title] => Pattaya Pains
[subtitle] => Essays, Observations, Stories & Real-Life Tales from Thailand & Its Fun City, Pattaya
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[name] => Nigel R. Gore
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[length] => 208
[published] => 2020-12-30
[description] =>

Thailand, the land of smiles and golden dreams, is languishing, and Pattaya, its biggest fun city, is succumbing to a thousand ills. Pattaya Pains is about living in Pattaya over the long term. Even though the collection of essays, stories, and observations herein would relish the golden dream of painting Pattaya as a romantic hotspot where Thais and foreigners bond, it can’t do so – not only because East is East and West is West, but also because Thais just don’t see foreigners in a good light. Sure, we bring in the bucks to the Land of Smiles, but we are aliens who do not understand Thai ways, Thai culture, and Thai traditions. There is another problem, as well. Thailand is deeply conservative, and its education system is worlds apart from a Western one.

Thailand sides with uniformity of thought and behavior, going out of its way to dismiss other modes of thinking. The country has profound pockets of poverty, and despite examples of countries with social mobility, Thailand operates a tacit, accepted caste-system, reinforced by conformity, uniformity, and its undemocratic leaders who regularly threaten “outspoken” people with punishment while claiming to be lenient.

“I will hit you with this law but remember I have not hit you with that law because of my great clemency.” Your average Thai looks at foreigners with contempt and resentment, is patriotic, self-serving, irresponsible, and thoughtless.

Pattaya Pains finds these matters and many others, like the death rate on the roads, painful…to say the least. As the nameless crone at the beginning of the book cackles, “Go on, luvvie, give yourself a treat. Learn why Thailand isn’t the Land of Smiles. Learn why Pattaya is Pain City not Fun City!” 

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[title] => Alison Larkin Presents: The Time Machine
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[length] => 261
[published] => 2020-03-28
[description] =>

“I told you so, you damned fools.” (H. G. Wells)

The father of science fiction predicted the events of the next century with almost 100 percent accuracy. In The Time Machine he depicted a dying world destroyed by humanity long before anyone realized climate change was becoming an urgent issue, making the famous story even more chillingly relevant today. 

Inventing the now-familiar concept of time travel, Wells sends his English scientist 802,701 years into the future, where he encounters our own earth, now dying by inches, populated by the sweet but feckless Eloi and threatened from below by the malevolent Morlocks. 

Shakespearean actor Nigel Gore’s powerful narration of The Time Machine is followed by an exclusive interview with John Kress, distinguished scientist and curator emeritus at the Smithsonian, who talks with award-winning producer Alison Larkin about the alarming links between the future H. G. Wells imagined for humanity in 1895 and how climate change is affecting the world today.

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[title] => In the Land of Whispers Books 1-3
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[length] => 3456
[published] => 2019-10-29
[description] =>

Brilliantly read by Nigel Gore, this audiobook joins together George Robert Minkoff’s three critically acclaimed historical novels about the founding of the first English colony at Jamestown – The Weight of Smoke, The Dragons of the Storm, and The Leaves of Fate. The recording is followed by a fascinating conversation with George Minkoff, Nigel Gore, and co-producer Alison Larkin.

The novels are visionary epics chronicling lesser-known aspects of the Elizabethan world, including the importance of alchemy to Queen Elizabeth and her court. The canvas is vast, intertwining the life of John Smith, as a narrator, with that of Sir Francis Drake, the great Elizabethan explorer, whose feats 30 years beforehand inspired Queen Elizabeth, and later King James, to dream of an English Empire.

The novels depict the reality of the people who braved great unknowns – treacherous seas, new territory, indigenous populations – to bring with them a utopian ideal that was ultimately shattered on the altar of English custom.

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[title] => The Leaves of Fate
[subtitle] => In the Land of Whispers, Book 3
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[length] => 1260
[published] => 2019-07-30
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The Leaves of Fate is the third and final volume of the epic fictional chronicle In the Land of Whispers.   

Here, we find the hero of Jamestown, Captain John Smith, forced to return to England, never to set foot again in the colony. Beyond his compelling memories of life in Jamestown, with its famine, disease, and discord, lies the sordid history of the rapacious greed of desperate colonists and wealthy London financiers who develop tobacco as a cash crop in lieu of food.    

Even a reunion with Pocahontas is brief and bittersweet, but despite continuing hardship and neglect, Smith becomes the best-selling author of his time.

“The concluding volume of Minkoff’s heavyweight Jamestown trilogy (The Weight of Smoke; The Dragons of the Storm) covers 1610 to 1630 and offers a detailed history of the English colonies told in flowery Elizabethan English (‘I am all that I know, a motion sensed, a current from forgetfulness’). A fitting wrap-up to an impressive trilogy, this expansive epic will surely please series fans with its authenticity, intrigue, and stylistic verve.” (Publishers Weekly)

“No author that I know of has brought home [Jamestown’s] trials and tribulations more vividly than Minkoff…. It is obvious that Mr. Minkoff has done an enormous amount of research on the periods he covers. Any reader who enjoys having history come alive will benefit from acquiring and reading all three volumes of In the Land of Whispers.” (Virginia Gazette)

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[title] => The Dragons of the Storm
[subtitle] => In the Land of Whispers, Book 2
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[length] => 1069
[published] => 2019-06-19
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Superbly narrated by British actor Nigel Gore, The Dragons of the Storm follows directly on from where The Weight of Smoke left off. Captain John Smith has been stabbed by a stingray and falls deathly ill. The old alchemist and mariner, Jonas Profit, doctors his wound, and to ease Smith’s suffering tells of the daring circumnavigation of the world by Francis Drake, 1577-1580. 

A masterful interweaving of all the elements that contributed to the birth of the British Empire.    

The Dragons of the Storm is as enthralling as The Weight of Smoke. I think John Smith and Francis Drake would rejoice in George Minkoff’s lively re-creation of them.” (Edmund Sears Morgan, Yale University historian) 

“Historically accurate, inventive in its language, and filled with exciting and epochal event, The Dragons of the Storm is a worthy successor to The Weight of Smoke.” (Peyton Moss, ForeWord Magazine

The Dragons of the Storm is a tour de force of sailing literature, focused on Drake’s circumnavigation of the world. Embedded in the story of John Smith’s Jamestown, it adds remarkable counterpoint and stretches to encompass not just the exploration of North America, but the Age of Exploration as well. Beautiful, riveting, and sweeping.” (Walter Bode, editor)

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[title] => The Weight of Smoke
[subtitle] => In the Land of Whispers, Book 1
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[length] => 1124
[published] => 2019-04-30
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Beginning with The Weight of Smoke, Minkoff’s exciting trilogy bursts into dazzling new life as an audiobook, read by acclaimed Shakespearean actor Nigel Gore.

Four hundred years after the founding of Jamestown, the lives of Captain John Smith, Powhatan, and Pocahontas assume their true dimensions in this far-ranging saga of the beginnings of the British Empire. The English came to the New World to found a utopia. Instead they founded a slave state. The only English voice of reason and the first true American hero became an outcast – and then forgotten.

George Robert Minkoff presents a rich, authentic tale about the disastrous first 18 months of the Jamestown Colony, 1607-1609. Entwined with the colony’s fractious beginnings are the adventures of Sir Francis Drake, retold around the campfires by an old alchemist, Jonas Profit, who sailed the Spanish Main with Queen Elizabeth’s favorite pirate.

Appropriately, these tales are told in a language rich with metaphorical power, flavored with Elizabethan authenticity, and read with power and authenticity by Nigel Gore.

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[title] => Women of Will
[subtitle] => Following the Feminine in Shakespeare’s Plays
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[published] => 2015-04-07
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Women of Will, a narrative combining trenchant analysis and riveting scenes, explores the themes of love, loss, freedom, control, violence, and power through the heroines of Shakespeare’s text. Drawing on her knowledge as director, actor, and teacher, Packer traces the chronological evolution of Shakespeare’s female characters and examines Shakespeare’s own journey and growth as a writer from feckless misogynist in his youth to committed lover in his middle years to unrepentant feminist in his final years.

Based on her five-part theatrical performance of the same name (currently touring throughout the world), Women of Will combines the knowledge of performance, discussion, and debate with the dramatic tension stemming from the influences Shakespeare responded to in his life and from Packer’s desire to show how powerful and distinct the women characters are in his plays. From Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing to Lady Macbeth to Paulina in A Winter’s Tale and everyone in between, Women of Will gives a unique and exhilarating perspective on some of the most well-known classical texts in the English language.

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