Beth Anderson is executive director of The Hill Center in Durham.
Recommended read: “Nonprofit: A Novel” by Matt Burriesci. A middle-aged man moves to D.C. to become executive director of a prestigious literary nonprofit. As he and his wife struggle with infertility, he discovers the organization is on the verge of bankruptcy, rife with fraud and “governed” by members of the Washington elite. It’s a hilarious, fast-paced, absurdist satire that is somehow also endearing and elicits empathy for the main character. I found it to be an engaging, quick, smart but not pretentious read that was a fun distraction during challenging political times.
What is your favorite reading memory? My 4th grade assistant teacher reading “From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler” by E.L. Konigsburg to us. I really did NOT like her – she came off as petty and mean – yet when she read that book to us, I felt like she was a different person, and I was completely transfixed and transported to another reality. I also think it helped foster my middle school love of mysteries.
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What is your favorite book that nobody’s heard of? “How Not to Save the World” by local author J. Yinka Thomas. It spans the world as the protagonist turns to a life of crime to save the fledgling nonprofit her mother started. It’s entertaining.
What movie was better than the book? “The Princess Bride.” Both are good, with unique characters and hilarious scenes and lines, but the movie was incredibly cast, and the screenplay so well adapted, that I find it much more memorable.
Where do you go for book recommendations? My favorite source is browsing in an independent bookstore like The Regulator in Durham. I love reading staff picks – so much more satisfying than browsing and reading reviews online. That said, I don’t do it nearly enough and also rely on Goodreads, the New York Times and my far-better-read husband.
Western Michigan University, 237 pages