Here's the music I loved and listened to the most this year. Also, I read a few books.
Gossamer - Passion Pit
It came out, I started listening to it and when I stopped it was 3 weeks later. It is brilliant.
Recommended tracks: "Take a Walk," "Carried Away," and "Love is Greed"
Bloom - Beach House
It's slow but beautifully enchanting.
Recommended tracks: "Myth" and "The Hours"
Shields - Grizzly Bear
Understandably not for everyone but I love this sort of thing: acoustic instruments, layered vocals, and found sound.
Recommended tracks: "Speak in Rounds" and "Yet Again"
Port of Morrow - The Shins
Will always have a soft spot for these guys.
Recommended tracks: "It's Only Life" and "No Way Down"
Heaven - The Walkmen
Still one of the most unique-sounding bands around.
Recommended tracks: "Heartbreaker" and "The Love You Love"
Swing Lo Magellan - The Dirty Projectors
Again, not for everyone. In fact, I don't like much of this album. But when it's good, it's better than most music out there.
Recommended tracks: "Just from Chevron" and "Dance for You"
Now, with books, I can't list stuff that came out in 2012. I can only list the stuff I read. I don't read as much as I used to but I read more in 2012 than I did from 2006 to 2011.
"The Hobbit" by J.R.R. Tolkien - Worthy of its reputation. Although, it is a little anti-climatic.
"Bossypants" by Tina Fey - Laughed so much.
"Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card - You think you know where it's going and then it smacks you in the face.
"The Spy Who Came in From the Cold" by John le Carré - Gets your heart pumping.
"World War Z" by Max Brooks - Sad, funny, intense, warning of what might happen in a global crisis.
"Start with Why" by Simon Sinek - Inspires you to do what inspires you.
"Writing Movies for Fun and Profit" by Thomas Lennon and Robert B. Garant - Helpful?
"Improv Wisdom" by Patricia Ryan Madson - Day-to-day application of improv techniques.
"Managing Content Marketing" by Robert Rose and Joe Pulizzi - Good stuff for my work.
"Content Rules" by Ann Hadley and C.C. Chapman - Great stuff for my work.