Revolution stories (Ideological Origins of the American Revolution, Revolutionary Summer, Founding Brothers), hero stories (Song of Roland, Lattimore's translation of The Iliad, Lincoln biographies), war stories (Killer Angels, any Tim O'Brien, Matterhorn and other Vietnam stuff), Civil Rights stories (Taylor Branch, Howell Raines, Anne Moody), human stories (Anne Tyler, Richard Russo, Kazuo Ishiguro).
Jane Austen adaptations, Shakespeare adaptations, rom-coms.
Ben Sollee, Teddy Thompson, Jon Bellion, Kings of Leon, Gregory Alan Isakov, Gary Clark Jr., Japanese House, 90s alternative stuff, the 70s radio on Spotify, a well-crafted pop anthem (I credit my daily association with the 12-18 set). For grading, the Miles Davis mono recordings, Philly Joe Jones, Gilbert & Sullivan, Nina Simone, movie soundtracks.
MSNBC, Homeland, West Wing, Newsroom, Mad Men, House of Cards, brooding British miniseries, most all Netflix original series. Recent stuff I can't stop talking about: The Night Manager, The Night Of, Stranger Things, Westworld.
Lots of podcasts: You Made It Weird, Keepin' It 1600, Another Round, Planet Money, Mortified, a million more.