Nope, not the Alma you were thinking of. This Alma is a character in one of my favorite books. As a friend of mine pointed out once, I seem to like books with young protagonists or narrators. I had never thought of that, but once she said it, I realized it was true.
Alma is one of the main characters in The History of Love by Nicole Krauss. Really, Alma is many characters in the book because of the book-within-a-book situation. Alma is a teenager who is trying to help her mother find happiness and understand what life is all about (that’s a very simplified description of who Alma is…).
I love this passage, where the main Alma is telling about the Alma in the book:
The first woman may have been Eve, but the first girl will always be Alma… Maybe the first time you saw her you were ten. She was standing in the sun scratching her legs. Or tracing letters in the dirt with a stick. her hair was being pulled. Or she was pulling someone’s hair. And a part of you was drawn to her, and a part of you resisted – wanting to ride off on your bicycle, kick a stone, remain uncomplicated. In the same breath you felt the strength of a man, and a self-pity that made you feel small and hurt. Part of you thought: Please don’t look at me. If you don’t, I can still turn away. And part of you thought: Look at me.
Alma is a girl I wish I knew. Alma and I could hang out with Oskar. I think they could help each other a lot (I wonder if this was the idea… since History of Love and Extremely Loud and IncrediblyClose were written by a wife and her husband).
I have already written a post about Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer, but I also wanted to write about Oskar Schell, the main character. He is a 9 year old boy, but oh so much more than that. There are so many things about Oskar that are incredibly endearing. He’s an inventor who invents things that will make all our lives easier. He’s a Francophile who is constantly describing his raison d’être. He only wears white and is always playing his tambourine. He is a brave little boy who travels far and wide to solve a beautiful mystery. He is a vegan and a pacifist. You need to read this book.
Perhaps the best TV show of all time. One of my favorites, at least. I got really, really into Quantum Leap during 6th grade – it was on USA every night before dinner. I loved the story, I loved how Sam changed history for the better and I loved Scott Bakula. He might seem like an odd man for an 11 year old girl to have a crush on, but have you seen him?
I love the show so much that I’m sure I’ve seen each episode more than once. My favorites are when he goes home or his leap crosses with his life or Al’s life or something like that. I was such a devoted fan in middle school that when we went to Universal Studios and was offended they didn’t have people dressed like Sam. Seriously. I remember one night I was doing my homework and my parents were channel surfing in the next room. I heard Sam breathing (not talking, mind you, breathing) and shouted, “You can’t watch Quantum Leap without me!!!” My parents even let me stay up to watch the series finale on a school night. Best series finale ever.
Audra McDonald has one of my favorite voices in the whole universe. She’s amazing. She has a wonderful level of emotion in her performance. I have been lucky enough to have seen Audra perform live twice. The first time was when mom and I went to New York when I was 17. We saw her in her Tony award winning role of Sarah in Ragtime. She blew me away.
The second time was in 2005 when she was on tour. She came to Eugene, so mom and I went to see her again. She was so wonderful and entertaining. That night I discovered that she not only could sing beautifully, but she was also a good story teller. She told great stories between her songs. I was even lucky enough to meet her and have an actual conversation with her. After the performance she had a question and answer session. I took a photo with her (on one of my old phones) and got to talk a little about how I had seen her in Ragtime. She was really a lovely person.
Here’s a video of her singing one of my favorite’s… It begins with some words about marriage equality that make me love her even more (the video is from a Marriage Equality Rally in NY)
I love Ben Folds. I loved Ben Folds Five, but that didn’t work out, so now I just love Ben Folds. My college roommate, Kate really got me hooked on Ben Folds with the Whatever and Ever Amen album. We listened to that a lot. I also listened to Songs for Silverman a lot while I was in Azerbaijan. Ben is a really talented musician and a very witty lyricist. I got to see him live while I was in college and he put on a really good show, playing lots of instruments and singing many of my favorite songs.
So, there’s this guy on YouTube who’s doing chatroulette with a paino… I was convinced he was Ben Folds…
Then Ben Folds did this:
Now I’m not so sure, but I think both are awesome and hilarous!!
To be honest, it took me awhile to get into The Decemberists. I didn’t really get what they were all about. They had songs that I really liked, but I don’t think I listened to a complete album until they came out with The Hazards of Love last year – and that’s mostly because it’s basically a musical. 🙂 Now I love them.
We got to see them perform The Hazards of Love last Spring. It was so much fun. I think it was one of the funnest concerts I have ever been to. The first half was just Hazards and the second half they played some of their old songs. The lead singer, Colin Meloy even directed the crowd in a reenactment of the old computer game Oregon Trail complete with mountains, rivers, gypsies, camels and all the other things that are typically related to the Oregon Trail.
When I was little, I loved my Linnea books. Linnea in Monet’s Garden and Linnea’s Almanac were two of my absolute favorite books. I loved the little French girl who loved art and nature. I wanted to wear a straw hat and pinafore just like her. I wanted to eat peas dipped in butter in the moonlight and create sardine-can-picture-frames. I wanted to live in France and be Linnea.
In 4th grade I did a book report – complete with a slide show (yes, real life slides) and pastel reproduction of Monet’s lilies – on Linnea in Monet’s Garden. I think it was this book that really perked my interest in art and impressionism in particular. I think I was especially astonished by the possibility to go see in real life where Monet worked and lived with his wildly interesting family.