Retroread: An Introduction and Mixed-up Files

Last month, E.L. Konigsburg died. Her name may mean nothing to you, which would be sad for you. Konigsburg wrote “From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.”

That book title may also mean nothing to you, which is incredibly sad for you and makes me question why you’re reading my blog.

See, Mrs. Basil E. Franweiler is one of my all-time favorite books. Reading of Konigsburg’s death made me want to reread the book and gave me an idea for an occasional series of blog posts.

Introducing …

retroread logoWherein the blog’s author revisits favorite books after too long of an absence. If this works out as I envision it, each retroread will have 2 posts: one written before I reread it and one after. I’ll look at why the book was a favorite and whether it’s held up to my memory’s esteem for it.

Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler seemed like a good first choice. I had to read the book in 4th grade, I think. Most likely in Mrs. Floquet’s class. I thought the long title was fun.

It was a perfect book for me. The heroine was about my age and smart. I didn’t have desire to run away from home, but Claudia made it sound like something that would be fun.

I loved reading about her and Jamie’s adventures in the museum. I still haven’t made it to the Met – I wonder if that’s because the real thing won’t live up to how it seemed in the book – but I’ll find myself picking out where I’d “live” in a museum when I visit. Heck, my cousin and I divided the rooms of the gardens at Versailles between ourselves for our future domicile.

I remember the book captivating me completely. I couldn’t wait to find out what happened next. The mystery of Michelangelo felt like something I could solve. And it was a mystery that seemed perfectly plausible to me, as did the actions of Claudia and her brother. They felt real, better versions of kids I know or (did I dare hope) me.

I’ve read the book a few times since 4th grade but not recently. I’m looking forward to rediscovering it and hope it lives up to my memories.

If you’ve read “From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler,” why not pick it up again and see how it reads today for you? If you’ve never read it, then, by all means, what are you waiting for? It’s a good book.

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One thought on “Retroread: An Introduction and Mixed-up Files

  1. What an awesome idea! I haven’t reread that book since I was a kid; maybe I’ll pick it up again myself. I often think of Mrs. Floquet. I remember her telling us that if she ever ran into any of her students in the future, she would want to know what we were currently reading. She was such a wonderful teacher.

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