Interweave Knits is by far the best magazine. Vogue is also popular but it's really not my style. You can go on both of their websites and check out patterns from the latest issues for free.
For books you'll get a variety of opinions. It's a good idea to go to Knitpicks.com and you can search by the best sellers, and preview a lot of patterns for free.
My favorites are One Skein, Last Minute Knitted Gifts, Weekend Knitting, Stitch and Bitch is great for a beginner. I like the quick projects because they are easy and fast and I don't get bored, or worry that I've spent a ton on yarn and I don't know what I'm doing.
A lot of the popular books have Knit A Longs. You can look here, or do a Google search, or try Crafster: http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?board=109.0
I would highly reccomend you go to a bookstore and just page through them on afternoon and see which ones you like. It's worth it!