Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell: this book transcends fantasy. Yes, it's about two magicians, but it's written like a 19th century English novel, and it's a total work of genius. The world the author has created is detailed, complex, and believable -- more so, I would even say, that that of Harry Potter. Warning: it gave me really weird dreams whenever I read it before falling asleep.
Two Days in Paris: this movie came out in 2006, but I didn't hear about it until I watched it with some friends after arriving in Paris. It captures this city absolutely perfectly; it does for Paris and Parisians what Annie Hall did for New York and New Yorkers. The romances in the two movies are similar as well --neurotic, clever, hilarious, believable -- but Two Days in Paris takes a decidedly more optimistic look at relationships. It is in English and French (the English subtitles are very good for the French parts, but as always, there are pieces lost in translation. But anglophones, watch it anyway).
Fans of Jimmy Century: the first time I saw this Berkeley-based electronica/house/dance group was at a private loft party in the fall of 2009. It was awesome. Now, one year later, it really looks like they're going to make it. They've made connections with a big-name producer in L.A., and are going to play at Popscene in San Francisco soon (the legendary host-them-just-before-they-get-famous night club: they've had Lily Allen, La Roux, Amy Winehouse, Franz Ferdinand...). And they deserve to make it: they have interesting beats that are perfect for dancing to, a great sound, and they tap into that same quirky, edgy look and sound that Lady Gaga has popularized -- but they wear it with much more authenticity than Lady Gaga. Definitely check out their song "Blonde Ambiton Red Temptation" on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ArQeWTceMeI
Harry Potter on tape, read by Jim Dale: Willa and I listened to the entire 7th book on her iPod while cooking, doing the dishes, and weeding. I honestly think that Jim Dale's rendition of the characters is better than what any of the actors in the movies do. He has a different voice for every of the 300-something characters. It's just one more way to experience the Harry Potter world.
Breakfast of Champions: my gateway drug into the world of Kurt Vonnegut. And now there's no going back... If you like sci-fi, absurdism, social commentary, deconstructionism, existentialism, American literature, or just entertaining books that make you think, read this.