Around Town

What drives Anne Tompkins? 3 questions for the former U.S. Attorney

U.S. Attorney Anne Tompkins at her office in uptown Charlotte Tuesday, July 1 2014.
U.S. Attorney Anne Tompkins at her office in uptown Charlotte Tuesday, July 1 2014. tsumlin@charlotteobserver.com

It’s time for C5 to sit down with another Charlotte notable to catch a quick glimpse of their personal side by asking three intriguing questions:

(1) What are you reading?

(2) What are you listening to?

(3) What are you watching?

We will use the answers to find a meaning, theme or message.

Taking on the challenge of self-assessment this week is former U.S. Attorney for Western N.C. Anne Tompkins, a formidable fighter of financial fraud who directed the corruption investigation of former Mayor Patrick Cannon.

She’s now back in private practice but will continue to lead the crusade for right vs. wrong right here in the Queen City.

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Jeff Siner

C5 spoke with the relaxed and approachable Tompkins early one summer morning.

What are you reading?

I have my Kindle with me everywhere I go and I like to read a few books at the same time.

First, I am reading the dystopian novel “Station Eleven” by Emily St. John Mandel. It is about the re-forming of society after a flu pandemic wipes out nearly all the world population.

But, unlike most typical dystopian plots, this re-forming of society is told from the viewpoint of traveling troupes performing Shakespearean plays in public to the various surviving towns in North America. The writing has a very lyrical quality just like a Shakespeare play.

I am also reading the fictional saga “A God in Ruins” by Kate Atkinson about postwar Britain from the viewpoint of a single family. It is the companion piece to Atkinson’s previous novel, “Life After Life.” I am also making my way through “A Game of Thrones” by George R.R. Martin.

What are you listening to?

I listen to NPR every day. I love “Morning Edition” in the a.m., “All Things Considered” in the p.m. I also enjoy listening to “Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me!”

I love Pandora. I always type in the artist Sting and just let it go from there.  I am bound to hear rock, pop and jazzy sounds.

Believe it or not, I love playing vinyl on an old Magnavox turntable.  You can always find some R.E.M. or Talking Heads spinning.

What are you watching?

Le Tour de France. I am obsessed with watching the Tour every July. I catch every stage.

I admire the athleticism and love taking in the scenery of France. Despite the past doping problems associated with cycling, I still see the Tour as chivalrous with plenty of tradition and camaraderie among the riders.

I enjoy watching Wimbledon as well as the Women’s Open and other LPGA golf tournaments. And, I do watch Netflix. My favorite is “Orange is the New Black.”

What does all of this mean to Anne?  

“I think it means I like the finer details, the means, or the how. I enjoy things that follow a path or procedure. How is the story built? Where does this story take me? How does this event proceed?

“I am interested in how things get done and how things get built.  It’s in the details.”

Photos: Todd Sumlin/Charlotte Observer; Jeff Siner/Charlotte Observer


Gregory Kurts pic
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