Tag Archives: top five

Revisiting: From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konisburg

Sorry for the lack of posting lately. I’ve been sick and the Phillies have been taking up a lot of my time.

But happily, I am feeling slightly better, and sadly the Phillies’ season is over, both which mean blogging with be back on track.

In my illness fog, I took the time to reread my favorite book from my childhood. I don’t think From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler was ever actually my favorite book. But it definitely hold the honor of being one of my favorite books for the longest.

Two siblings, Claudia and Jamie Kincaid, run away from their suburban life to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Living there a week, the two children initially have the desire to learn everything about everything in the museum, but with the discovery of a special sculpture, Claudia makes the executive decision for the children to learn everything about this sculpture. The sculpture is a new acquisition from one Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, known for her bizarre are eye and hodge-podge collection. Claudia and Jamie learn a lot about art, each other and what is means to have an identity.

As a child, I had a large reverence for museums. This hasn’t changed since I’ve grown up, but it started at a very young age. My family spent a lot of time going to the High Museum to see this painting:

Portrait of Anne, George Bellows, 1915

The little girl in the painting is my grandmother, who passed away before I was born. When we went to the High, we went to go see Grandma Anne. Maybe that is why the concept of  “museum as home” worked so well for me in the book.

Claudia also was the oldest girl in a family that lived in suburbia and all she ever wanted to be different. Plus, though Jamie is younger than Claudia, their relationship always reminded of me and my twin brother. She has the big adventurous plans and he is very practical.

But most of all, the biggest theme in the book is the idea that knowledge makes you special and different. Claudia learns a secret about a piece of art and then she gets to go home different. Though I didn’t know it at the time, this desire is eventually what would lead me to my interests in literature and art. I feel like when I research and study art and literature I find out secrets that aren’t apparent at the first glance.

This is one of only children’s books that I think really holds up for adults as well. It still makes me cry every time I read it.

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Filed under American, Literature

Revisiting: North by Northwest

Last year, I went on a major Alfred Hitchcock bender. At this point, I’ve seen Notorious, Strangers on a Train, Rear Window, North by Norhtwest, Psycho (on Halloween! in a movie theater!), Marnie, To Catch a Thief, Rope, Spellbound, and Suspicion. I’ve enjoyed all of them, except Marnie.

But my first and favorite Hitchcock film is North by Northwest, even after seeing movies that I think are better movies. But I think North by Northwest‘s inclusion in my top five movies of all time is really a token representation of how much I love Hitchcock. If this movie were directed by anyone else, I don’t know if it would make it. But North by Northwest has the elements of all my favorite Hitchcock films: Cary Grant, sexual tension with a blonde, identity issues, various forms of transportation and ridiculous camera work.

After watching it again for the first time since spring, I realized that there is really only one thing about the movie that I don’t like and it is Eve Marie Saint. I don’t really have a problem with the Hitchcock blonde as a thing, but I just find her a less compelling actress than Ingrid Bergman and not as sweet and beautiful as Grace Kelly.

Is North by Northwest still one of my favorite movies? Yes. But does it have a chance to be knocked out if I fall in love with another Hitchcock film more? I would say yes…except for this scene.

What’s not to love? That weird (horrible) camera work that screams “1959,” Cary Grant drunk, and the suspenseful music. It is my favorite scene in all of Hitchcock because it exemplifies what I love about him.


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Filed under Film

Revisiting the Top 5: Movies and Books

So this is something I will be working on all semester. Some of my favorite blog posts to write are when I look at something and I enjoy and try to figure out why.

What I am going to do is look at my top five favorite books and movies and reassess my opinion of them and how they fit into my life.

For the record my top five of each are:


  1. A Room with a View-E.M. Forster
  2. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn-Betty Smith
  3. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler-E. L. Konisburg
  4. Mrs. Dalloway-Virginia Woolf
  5. Emma-Jane Austen


  1. The Graduate
  2. Bringing Up Baby
  3. North by Northwest
  4. His Girl Friday
  5. A Room with a View

I don’t know if I am going to alternate between books and movies or just do all of one and then the other. I guess we’ll see!

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Filed under Film, Literature