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Literary

Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins

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“The Hunger Games” begins long after the human population has been decimated by climate change and the wars that followed. Now North America is the nation of Panem, a country with 12 fenced-in districts that all work to feed the enormously wealthy and technologically advanced capital. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen lives in District 12, the poorest of them all. Her father died mining in the Seam years ago, and now her family survives thanks to her mother’s knowledge of herbal medicine and Katniss’s own illegal hunting and gathering outside the district’s fence.
from the New York Times Review of Books

Further Reading:

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The Old Man and the Sea - Earnest Hemingway

"Moreover, one may trace a distinctive linking thread - let us say a symbolic warp reaching back a hundred years in the loom of time - between Hemingway's latest work, The Old Man and The Sea, and one of the classic creations of American literature, Herman Melville's novel Moby Dick, the white whale who is pursued in blind rage by his enemy, the monomaniac sea captain. Neither Melville nor Hemingway wanted to create an allegory; the salt ocean depths with all their monsters are sufficiently rewarding as a poetic element. But with different means, those of romanticism and of realism, they both attain the same theme - a man's capacity of endurance and, if need be, of at least daring the impossible. "A man can be destroyed but not defeated."
from the 1954 Nobel Prize for Literature Ceremony speech
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Life of Pi - Yann Martel

“If we citizens do not support our artists, then we sacrifice our imagination on the altar of crude reality and we end up believing in nothing and having worthless dreams.”
from the Author’s Note to Life of Pi p. xii

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Slaughterhouse Five - Kurt Vonnegut

"We went to the New York World's Fair, saw what the past had been like, according to the Ford Motor Car Company and Walt Disney, saw what the future would be like, according to General Motors. And I asked myself about the present: how wide it was, how deep it was, how much was mine to keep."
- Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five, Chapter 1


Musical


The Suburbs - Arcade Fire

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"If there's a single thread of feeling, it's neither anti-suburban or pro-suburban, just hyperaware of life's limitations wherever you end up. Right, teenagers "longing to be free" need to turn their "Wasted Hours" "into a life that we can live." But one song later Butler urges us to put down our cellphones and laptops, and right after that the crucial "We Used to Wait" remembers that "we used to waste hours just walking around" almost as if he missed the slack. Like every alt hero suffering backlash, Butler has had enough of "the modern kids" he mocks in "Rococo." But does he want to show an as yet unborn daughter "some beauty before all this damage is done" because elsewhere he feels completely isolated, presumably even from his wife? Or are those just different days, different moods?"
Robert Christgau (the Dean of American Rock Critics) writing for Barnes and Noble

The Dark Side of the Moon - Pink Floyd


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"I think every album was a step towards Dark Side of the Moon," keyboardist Rick Wright said. "We were learning all the time, the techniques of the recording and our writing was getting better." As a culmination of their inner-space explorations of the early 1970s, the Floyd toured the bulk of Dark Side in Britain for months prior to recording. But in the studio, the band articulated bassist Roger Waters' lyric reveries on the madness of everyday life with melodic precision ("Breathe," "Us and Them") and cinematic lustre (Clare Torry's guest vocal aria "The Great Gig in the Sky"). Dark Side is one of the best-produced rock albums ever, and "Money" may be rock's only Top Twenty hit in 7/8 time.
from Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Albums Ever

Darkness on the Edge of Town - Bruce Springsteen



external image bruce_springsteen-darkness_on_the_edge_of_town.jpg"When I was making this particular album, I just had a specific thing in mind," Springsteen told Rolling Stone. "It had to be just a relentless . . . just a barrage of that particular thing." That obsession was the aftermath of the epic romanticism of his first three records: songs about people struggling with collapsed dreams. This was tough music, inspired by tough movies by Sergio Leone and John Ford. Recorded after a long absence from the studio (due to a lawsuit against his former manager), Springsteen and the E Street Band played rockers such as "Badlands" and "Promised Land" with barely contained passion.

Bruce Springsteen - "The Promise: The Making of 'Darkness on the Edge of Town'" Sneak Peek from Columbia Records on Vimeo.



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Citizen Kane - Orson Wells

"It is one of the miracles of cinema that in 1941 a first-time director; a cynical, hard-drinking writer; an innovative cinematographer, and a group of New York stage and radio actors were given the keys to a studio and total control, and made a masterpiece. Citizen Kane'' is more than a great movie; it is a gathering of all the lessons of the emerging era of sound, just as Birth of a Nation'' assembled everything learned at the summit of the silent era, and ``2001'' pointed the way beyond narrative. These peaks stand above all the others."
Roger Ebert

The Matrix - The Watchowski Brothers

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"The Matrix makes numerous references to recent films and literature, and to historical religions and philosophy. These include Advaita/Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Existentialism, Judaism, Gnosticism, Messianism, Nihilism, and occult tarot. The film's premise resembles Plato's Allegory of the Cave, Calderon de la Barca's Life is a Dream, Edwin Abbott Abbott's Flatland, René Descartes's evil genius, Georges Gurdjieff's The Sleeping Man,[19[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Matrix#cite_note-18|]]] Kant's reflections on the Phenomenon versus the Ding an sich, and the brain in a vat thought experiment."external image Jaws-poster.jpg
//from// Wikipedia



Jaws - Steven Spielburg


"You're going to need a bigger boat."

So the police chief famously informs the shark hunter, right after the first brief appearance of the man-eater in "Jaws." It's not simply a splendid line of dialogue, it's an example of Steven Spielberg's strategy all through the film, where the shark is more talked about than seen, and seen more in terms of its actions than in the flesh. There is a story that when producers Richard Zanuck and David Brown first approached Spielberg with an offer to direct the film of Peter Benchley's best seller, he said he would do it on one condition: that the shark not be seen for the first hour.