Some time ago the guy who works at one of my local comic shops was talking up a little anime show called Cowboy Bebop. 'What a fantastic series', he would tell me, 'with one of the best English dubs that he's ever heard for an anime series'. Even though I was never a really big anime fan, he urged me to try it out, believing that if I only sat down and watched a few episodes it would open my eyes.
Grudgingly, I took his advice and downloaded a couple of episodes. I didn't want to pay to see something I was sure I wouldn't like so I figured I'd grab a few off the 'net and if I, by some miracle, did like it I could always rent or buy them later.
Needless to say, I was floored by the show. It was not only the best anime I'd ever seen but one of the best animated series' I'd ever seen period, Japanese or North American.
Having this experience follow so close on the heels of my discovery of the late, great Doom Patrol monthly by John Arcudi and Tan Eng Huat (which came through the late, great Seth Fisher) I decided that I was never going to poo-poo a friend's recommendation from then on. If someone was excited enough to say, 'You should try this', I was going to endeavour to do just that.
My latest experience with this comes from a list of Nick Hornby's favourite authors and books. I was looking for something new and diffreent than what I was accustomed to, and I remembered reading in an interview somewhere that Hornby (whom I love for his books About a Boy, Songbook, High Fidelity and How to Be Good) really liked Anne Tyler of Accidental Tourist fame. He specifically mentioned Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant as a favourite. Seeing as my wife also likes Tyler and happened to have a copy of same book handy, I gave it a chance and started reading it this week.
It started off a little rocky, but by the second chapter I was pretty much hooked. I can see why Hornby and my wife like her writing so much. It's very real, very descriptive and the characters, though generally sedate in their overall natures, come alive on the page as if you were, or knew someone, just like them. It's a pretty easy read and the words just roll off the page once you get the rhythm of it. It's pretty good stuff.
Having also been in a somewhat DeMatteis-ish mood, I'm debating now if I'm going to try and conquer one of his favourite author's, Dostoyevsky, next. A little Brothers Karamazov to shake off some of the cobwebs, perhaps? Or maybe Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird. It's been years since I read that one. I guess we'll see when I finsih with Tyler.
P.S. - For the chronologically minded, this post was actually started on the 24th, but I've been adding to it off and on at work for the last 5 days.