Miscellaneous Memoranda

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler turns fifty this year and The Smithsonian Magazine has a great article about the true story behind the book. Really, that book is the only reason I’d ever want to visit New York (although sadly, the bed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art that Claudia and Jamie slept in and the fountain they bathed in are no longer there). And did you know there was a film made in 1973 called The Hideaways, starring Ingrid Bergman as Mrs Frankweiler? The trailer looks … not very good. Has anyone seen the film?

– And speaking of beloved books, did you know that I Capture the Castle has been made into a musical?

– Here’s an interesting article about the day jobs of various famous authors. Did you know that Dorothy Sayers worked in advertising and devised the ‘Toucan’ Guinness ads? And that Jack London was an ‘oyster pirate’, and Vladimir Nabokov a butterfly curator in a museum, and Harper Lee an airline ticketing clerk?

– Sadly, authors need to scrounge for money because “celebrity deals are shutting children’s authors out of their own trade”.

– Regarding Nabokov, apparently his favourite word was “mauve”. A new book by Ben Blatt reports on the statistical analysis of thousands of ‘classics’ and contemporary bestsellers, concluding that while women write about both men and women, men write overwhelmingly about men; that the writers who used the most clichés were all men and those who used the least clichés were all women; and that Tolkien really liked exclamation marks.

– Finally, here are instructions for how to turn your boring conventional shoes into shoes that look like pigeons. (My favourite part of the story is that Kyoto Ohata created the shoes because she was worried her regular shoes were upsetting the pigeons she encountered on her daily walks.)

2 thoughts on “Miscellaneous Memoranda”

  1. OMG! All my life I have remembered a story I read as a child in which two (American) children ran away and lived in a museum. I remembered details from the book vividly (the bossy sister who was so incredibly organised about running away;bathing in the fountain to get coins; the imprint left by the statue on the cloth which they get so excited about) but didn’t remember either author or title. It was in a pile of books my godmother (a children’s librarian) had lent me; I must have read it a couple of times, then when it went back I never came across it again. I had no idea it was a well-loved American classic. Maybe it was less well known in the UK than in America?
    Anyway, I am very happy to have discovered what it was called and who wrote it so thank you!

    1. I rediscovered this book as an adult, too! I have a 2003 edition with a wonderful afterword by E. L. Konigsburg, which discusses the very different New York that Claudia and Jamie would encounter now (no Olivetti typewriter store, no card catalog in the library, no free entrance to the Museum now…).

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