Deverry Series – by Katharine Kerr
These books are set in a world based on ancient Celtic culture. Many of the characters study and practice what the author calls Dweomer, which is a form of magick and energy work (see the author’s site for a description of her research on magick and her philosophy toward it). As well as following an overall storyline, the books also follow the various reincarnations of the main characters. All of the books are very well written and the way the parts of the plot intertwine and fit together gives the series a lot of depth.
Series includes (in order): Daggerspell, Darkspell, The Bristling Wood/Dawnspell, The Dragon Revenant/Dragonspell, A Time of Exile, A Time of Omens, Days of Blood and Fire/A Time of War, Days of Air and Darkness/A Time of Justice, The Red Wyvern, The Black Raven, The Fire Dragon, The Gold Falcon, The Spirit Stone, The Shadow Isle, and The Silver Mage.
The Dresden Files – by Jim Butcher
Harry Dresden raises eyebrows both in the mundane and magical worlds as he advertises himself as a professional wizard in the yellow pages, helps the Chicago police department solve paranormal crimes, unravels plots by the various denizens of the magical world, and generally serves as the last line of magical defense for the city, all while trying to make ends meet. The stories are told with dry humor from Harry’s own perspective, and plenty of surprisingly accurate magical theory is included throughout the series.
Series includes so far (in order): Storm Front, Fool Moon, Grave Peril, Summer Knight, Death Masks, Blood Rites, Dead Beat, Proven Guilty, White Knight, Small Favor, Turn Coat, Changes, Side Jobs (short story collection), and Ghost Story.
The Men Who Stare at Goats – by George Clooney, Ewan McGregor, and Grant Heslov
The comedic film adaptation of Jon Ronson’s book which tells the story of his research into the U.S. Army’s psi programs. The reporter treks around Iraq with one of the participants in the program, which began with research into the New Age and the desire to create “Warrior Monks” and continued on through remote viewing, Jedi, stopping the hearts of goats, drugs, and walking through walls.
Talent and Rowan Series – by Anne McCaffrey
The Talent series is set on earth in the future. Through an accident, medically measurable evidence is found for the psychic abilities of a few people. They band together to form an organization that focuses on finding, training, and hiring out the skills of psychics (for example, psychokinetics are hired to move large objects, and precogs send their findings to governments to help avoid disasters), as well as protecting their rights. They eventually are instrumental in moving humanity out into space. The Rowan series is more well know and continues in the farther future in which humans have colonized the galaxy. Both series are engaging, believable, and definitely worth the read.
Series includes (in order): To Ride Pegasus, Pegasus in Flight, Pegasus in Space, The Rowan, Damia, Damia’s Children, Lyon’s Pride, and The Tower and the Hive.
Inception – by Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, & Christopher Nolan
This movie is based on the idea that a team of people can enter someone’s dream in order to steal information. While in the movie this is done through technology, some of the underlying theories about dreamwalking, setting up triggers to help you to realize that you’re dreaming and become lucid, and planting telepathic suggestion effectively are depicted reasonably accurately. The subplot dealing with buried subconscious issues bleeding into dreams in an effort to force the person to actually deal with them also illustrates important psychological concepts. Educational value aside, the movie is very well done, with good special effects, great acting, fantastic sound track–overall definitely worth seeing.
Hereafter – by Matt Damon, Bryce Dallas Howard, and Clint Eastwood
A slow, thoughtful kind of movie that follows the intersecting stories of a retired psychic who just wants a normal life, a journalist who has a near death experience, and a young boy who loses his twin brother. The movie tries to show how these experiences change the lives of each person, though most of the details are left up to the viewer’s imagination. Illustrates the differences between fake psychics and real experiences, and how difficult such experiences and abilities can be to live with.