Top of the Charts – The Best Books, Movies and Music From 2013
Books (From the NY Times 10 Best Books of 2013)
1. 'Tenth of December' by George Saunders
George Saunders has been hailed as a New York Times bestselling American writer of short stories, children's books, essays and novellas. His new collection, Tenth of December, includes stories such as 'Exhortation' which is an open letter written by a boss to his male employees to keep a positive attitude in the workplace, in which the
reader is left to guess the field of their work.
2. 'The Goldfinch' by Donna Tartt
Donna Tartt's third novel, The Goldfinch, follows Theo Decker, a twelve-year old boy whose mother gets killed at an art gallery as a result of a terrorist bombing. Since Theo's father abandoned him at an early age, a wealthy family friend takes him in. This novel intimately describes Theo's exploration of the art world and his adjustment to his new lifestyle, all while coping with the loss of his mother.
3. 'After the Music Stopped: The Financial Crisis, the Response, and the Work Ahead' by Alan S. Blinder
One of the top American economic thinkers of our time, Alan S. Blinder, writes extensively about the 2007-2009 financial crisis, from the burst of the housing bubble to the actions of various U.S. and international actors in getting us out of the crisis. We are sure to learn a thing or two from this former vice chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, 'Wall Street Journal' columnist, and Princeton University professor.
4. 'Americanah' by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
This story centers around two Nigerian youths in love who struggle to make it in America. They face ordeals such as racial tension, immigration, unemployment, and much, much more. Through it all, Ifemelu and Obinze try to rekindle their love, while adjusting to their new lives.
5. 'Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital' by Sheri Fink
Pulitzer Prize winner Sheri Fink is a jack-of-all-trades. Using her skills as an investigative journalist, reporter and physician, Fink vividly writes about her examination of patient deaths as a result of Hurricane Katrina and the health care professionals who were alleged to have taken measures to expedite their deaths.
Movies (Golden Globe Winners)
Winner of the Best Animated Feature Film award at the Golden Globes, Frozen follows Anna, a brave girl who sets off on a quest with her newfound friends, Kristoff and Sven (a reindeer) to find her sister Elsa. Elsa's uncontrollable powers of freezing all that she touches has left the kingdom of Arendelle suffering through an eternal winter. Be sure to catch this film to watch how mystical trolls and a snowman named Olaf help Anna save the kingdom.
"Her," winner of "Best Screenplay," tugged at audiences' heartstrings as they watched the relationship between Theodore and Samantha. Theodore is a lonely writer who dealing with emotional hurdles through the divorce process. He purchases the OS1, a new operating system that is proclaimed to have artificial intelligence, which he calls "Samantha." As they get to know each other, they realize that they are falling in love.
3. 12 Years a Slave
Winner of "Best Motion Picture" at the Golden Globes, this captivating movie about a man's fight for survival and freedom in the United States before the Civil War will bring you to tears. At year 12 of Solomon Northup's struggle (played by Chiwetel Ejiofor), he meets Bass, (played by Brad Pitt) a Canadian abolitionist, who will change his life.
4. American Hustle
Experienced con artists, Irving Rosenfield, played by Christian Bale, and Sydney Prosser, played by Amy Adams, have no choice but to work with an FBI agent, Richie DiMaso, played by Bradley Cooper. How can they follow DiMaso's orders and yet still fulfill their own personal interests? Watch American Hustle, winner of Best Motion Picture: Comedy or Musical.
5. The Great Beauty
Italy won the Best Foreign Language Film with "The Great Beauty" at the 2014 Golden Globes. In this film, Journalist Jep Gambardella proves that he was quite the socialite in Rome, enticing women at every angle and being caught up in the lavish lifestyle after the success of his novel. However, it is at his sixty-fifth birthday when he looks back on his life and actually notices the exquisite beauty of his city.
Music (Nominees for Album of the Year at the 2014 Grammys)
1. Daft Punk, 'Random Access Memories'
The French electronic music duo released their fourth studio album, 'Random Access Memories' on May 17, 2013. It incorporates various genres such as funk, disco and soft rock and collaborations with artists such as Pharrell Williams, Julian Casablancas and CJ Falcon. At the 56th annual Grammy Awards in 2014, it won 2013 "Album of the Year" and "Dance/Electronica Album." Additionally, "Get Lucky" won "Record of the Year" and "Pop/Duo Group Performance."
Daft Punk at the 2014 Grammys[/caption]
2. Sara Bareilles, 'The Blessed Unrest'
Released in July 2013, 'The Blessed Unrest' by Sara Bareilles sold 68,000 copies during its first week of its release and debuted at number 2 on the Billboard 200. Her hit singles "Brave" and "I Choose You" stay faithful to her pop rock and soul sound.
3. Kendrick Lamar, 'Good Kid, M.A.A.D City'
'Good Kid, M.A.A.D City," Kendrick Lamar's second studio album, sold a whopping 242,000 copies in its first week. It features collaborations with popular hip-hop artists such as Dr. Dre, Drake and Jay-Z, Pharrell Williams and many more.
4. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, 'The Heist'
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis's debut album, "The Heist," skyrocketed to number 1 on iTunes within hours of being released. The album was produced, recorded and released independently by the duo and features songs such as "Thrift Shop, "Can't Hold Us" and "Same Love." Though they did not win Album of the Year at the awards ceremony, they did win "Best Rap Performance," "Best New Artist," "Best Rap Song," and "Best Rap Album."
5. Taylor Swift, 'Red'
Taylor Swift's fourth studio album, "Red," sold 1.28 million copies in its first week in the United States, and topped charts in the U.K., Australia, Canada, Ireland and New Zealand. It features singles such as "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together, "I Knew You Were Trouble," and "22."
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