1. Television - Marquee Moon
This is just a fantastic album from 1977 that really presages the current indie sounds.
2. Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals- Live From Mars
Amazing style and soul. One disc with the full band one disc with just Ben and a guitar. The set list is a good retrospective of the first several albums with some covers thrown in.
3. Frou Frou - Details
Some of the most emotional electronic music this side of Bjork (who you should also probably check out).
4. Matthew Sweet - Girlfriend, Altered Beast, 100% Fun
A trifecta of nearly perfect albums. Beautifully crafted pop gems and really great album structure.
5. Afghan Whigs - 1965
I have no clue how to classify this album, it is by turns moody, sensual, LOUD and dense. It just rocks.
1. Neil Gaiman - Sandman series
Yeah, they're comic books, but it's also a great story. Neil Gaiman has a nack for taking every myth you've ever heard, twisting it on its head, and then slapping you around with it (just for good measure). If you really can't stomach being seen reading comics, check out American Gods or Neverwhere.
2. Orson Scott Card - Ender's Game
Sience fiction for people who don't like sience fiction. A book that works on several levels, I've read it time and again from the age of 10 or 11 and I still find reasons to go back.
3. James Ellroy - American Tabloid
Dizzying, stream of thought narrative coupled with politics, gangs, Cuba, drugs and Hollywood. I mean what more could you want?
4. Richard Wright - Native Son
It touches on race, class, crime, and power in America. A heartbreaking spiral that you can see coming a mile away, but are powerless to stop.
5. Alex Garland - The Tesseract
I know this is an overused cliche but I couldn't put it down. I picked it up thinking that I would read until I got tired, I read the whole damn book. A bit of a puzzle (but not a mystery). Intertwining stories that span several years to explain the events of one ill-fated evening. Stunning in content and form.
Perhaps sometime I'll post movie reccomendations but I've got work to get to now!