This article appears in the July 2011 issue of LouisvilleMagazine. To subscribe, please visit loumag.com.
David Dominé, the “Bluegrass Peasant,” is the author of several travel books and cookbooks including Ghosts of Old Louisville and, most recently, 111 Fabulous Food Finds in Kentucky, which features some of the region’s best eateries. A native of Wisconsin, Dominé moved to Louisville for graduate school and fell in love with the city’s diverse attractions. “We’re a convergence of a lot of different influences,” he says. “Louisville is a great city and I want to let outsiders know what a great city it is.” His current project, Voodoo Days at La Casa Fabulosa: Memoirs of an Enchanted Neighborhood, chronicles a year spent living in his reportedly haunted former house on Third Street, which he christened La Casa Fabulosa. The book also serves as a vehicle to showcase the neighborhood, its eccentric characters and spectacular Victorian architecture.
Book you are reading now: “I usually have several books going at once, and one of them is always by a local author. Right now I’ve got three books in varying degrees of completion on my nightstand: Kiss Your Elbow: A Kentucky Memoir, by Deanna O’Daniel; The Shadow of the Wind, by Carlos Ruiz Zafón; and On a Dollar a Day: One Couple’s Unlikely Adventures in Eating in America, by Christopher Greenslate and Kerri Leonard.”
Book you plan to read next: Commonwealth, by Joey Goebel. “I like to read local authors. Also, it was a really big seller in Germany, and knowing how odd the Germans are, I want to read the book.”
Book you’d recommend to a friend to take along on vacation: “I guess it depends on the kind of vacation we’re talking about. At the beach in Florida, I’d recommend Skinny Dip, by Carl Hiaasen. If you’re doing the adventure kind of getaway and you’re trying to pack light, the paperback version of Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand, is great. I had it for a number of years and didn’t get past the first few pages. But then when I got into it I was surprised at what gripping reading it was.”
Favorite book or author when you were (about) 21: “Anne Rice’s The Vampire
Lestat came out when I was 21, and that got me hooked on her books for a while. I loved how she capitalized on New Orleans’ sense of place in so much of her writing.”
Favorite book from childhood: Charlotte’s Web, by E.B. White. “It was the first book that I can recall having an emotional impact on me. It was assigned in school, third grade maybe. And for two or three weeks it really brought the class together. We would talk about what had happened each morning.”
Book you think ought to be required reading for high school: “I think everyone in this country should be required to read the Bible, and not just because it’s one of the most-cited books in the world or because of the seeds it has sown across the American political landscape. If everyone actually read the Bible in its entirety and really knew what it said, they might think twice before cherry-picking verses to use as justification for their beliefs and to bolster the determination to impose their sense of morality on others.”
Book that has most guided or served as a model for your professional outlook or artistic vision: The Cider House Rules, by John Irving. “This is the first book I can recall clearly showing me that great writing is more than just telling a story; it’s a way to convey a message. That’s when it crystallized, when I realized what good writing could do.”
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