Recommendations For Thinkers

Start from the beginning

FILM

Inception - Starring Leonardo di Caprio, Tom Hardy and Ellen Paige this intellectual thriller will get you thinking, even though you may need to watch it more than once to fully appreciate it. In Inception, your dreams can be entered by other people, who have the power to manipulate the dream and plant ideas in the dreamer's head. There are multiple layers to a dream and it gets convoluted but is exceptionally enjoyable, especially when there's a risk of getting trapped in a dream you can't escape from. Fast paced and super smart.

Pan's Labyrinth - A very dark gothic fantasy about a young girl in wartime Germany who witnesses the violent, sadistic behaviour of her step father and escapes into a magical world of creatures which are not so innocent. Directed by the award winning Guillermo del Torro, this one is as dark as you can get. Not one for those easily disturbed. It's like an Angela Carter fairytale made visual.

The Lego Movie - An ordinary construction worker becomes The Special, a hero with the power to save the Lego world from the evil authority of President Business. An hilarious satire on modern society.

Inside Out - Pixar animated movie where our emotions are personified inside our heads and are in control. Funny and poignant.

The Hunger Games - A near future dystopia in which teenagers are forced into a reality tv show where they must kill each other to be the last one standing. Katniss Everdeen is an outstanding heroine, supported by an eclectic cast of likeable characters and a villain suitably chilling. Katniss must not only survive the games, but fight back against the oppressive regime that controls society. Both the movies, and books upon which they are based, are seriously poignant considering the world we live in. These books should be studied in schools. They are relevant to today, and Katniss Everdeen is a role model I wouldn't argue with.

BOOKS

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BOOKS

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde - One for the serious thinkers. A gothic tale of an innocent young man corrupted. Gorgeous language, social commentary and philosophical debate abound.

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Suzanna Clarke - A really, really thick book written in the style of 18th century literature, this is an historical fantasy unlike any other. A tale of two magicians competing for knowledge and command of magic. Filled with Yorkshire myth and legend, it's a whopper, but a good one.

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness - A YA trilogy about a young man and woman who try to stop warring sides in a dystopian future. It really makes you think about conflict, good and bad, and is relevant to our world today.

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood - In a future where women are kept for baby-making, this dystopian classic is really chilling. It's all too possible, and is based on injustices actually faced by women in our world throughout history. The TV series is worth watching if you can stomach scenes of rape and physical abuse, and can handle the very, very heavy atmosphere. I prefer the book.

American Gods by Neil Gaiman - A fantastical journey through America where old gods (Anubis, Odin, Easter) are losing their followers, and so must battle new gods (Media, Capitalism) who threaten to take their place. A satirical look at American society and faith, written by a master of fantasy. There's also a TV adaption that has stunning visuals, but if you haven't read the book first, it feels like a confusing acid trip. The book's better.

Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman - A demon and an angel must put aside their differences to help save the world. Satire at its best. There's a new tv adaption that I haven't yet seen, starring David Tennant, it looks great.

The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter - A collection of gothic fairytales retold with a feminist twist. I first read this book at college, and promptly fell in love with it. When it came up again in my university module, I snapped at the chance to write another essay on it. With absolutely beautiful narrative, Carter retells Bluebeard, Beauty & the Beast and others, with prominent feminist twists. It's luscious, it's provoking and absolutely brilliant.

Chocolat by Joanne Harris - A beautiful story about a young woman and her daughter, who open a chocolate shop in a little french village. It address topics such as: fear of the outsider, using religion to control, domestic abuse, making the most of life... It's a beautiful, beautiful book (much better than the film).

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Have you got any tv, film or book suggestions for thinkers? Let us know in the comments :)

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