March’s Vol-Star is the wonderful Dominic Loise. If you shop at Open Books River North or Open Books Pilsen, there’s a good chance you’ve met (and been helped by) this fine gentleman, as he is oh so frequently volunteering at one place or the other. Dominic honestly defines helpfulness. He is always happy to lend a hand with absolutely any task (just check out the photo below for proof – that would be Dominic cheerfully freeing the Open Booksmobile from its snowy shackles) and does so with a genuine and endearing smile on his face (again, see photo!).
Though he will help with anything that needs doing, we are always especially happy to see Dominic put his immense kindness to work as he welcomes and assists our shoppers in finding their next read - especially when those “shoppers” are our field trip students visiting the store to pick out their free books. Dominic takes him time with each young reader and won’t give up on finding the perfect book, and that’s what it’s all about.
Name: Dominic Loise
Open Books programs you participate in: Bookstore & Warehouse
Better Know a Vol-Star: Dominic Loise
What has been your favorite/most rewarding moment as an Open Books volunteer so far?
The field trip students are a blast when they come down to the bookstore. A lot of the times, they will know what they want to read but there will be only so many copies of a current popular series like The Hunger Games or Diary of a Wimpy Kid. That is when I get to use my five favorite words at the store—“Have you heard of this?”—and introduce them to a book that may be off their radar but a parallel or predecessor to the book they had in mind.
What is a tradition from your childhood that you would love to pass on?
The main bookmark I used as a child had a turtle on it and said, “I may take my time, but I enjoy what I read.” I wasn’t the fastest reader as a kid, and I’ll still take my time with a book I’m invested in as an adult. My mom taught me that reading wasn’t a race against the other kids and that it was more important to comprehend than to end a book.
If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
The Peanut Butter Burger at Yo’ Mama Bar & Grill in New Orleans. Robert Asprin was a writer I had been reading since grade school. When he moved down to The Big Easy, he started up a new book series (Dragon’s Wild) set down there, and I used that as my travel guide. What I ordered hesitantly has become my benchmark burger, and with all the culinary magic available down South, Yo’ Mama must put some major Hoo-Doo on that plate if that’s the main dish I’m craving from New Orleans.
What is the best Halloween costume you’ve ever worn?
As I was leaving the house, I thought my Robin Hood costume was all that because it was my first non-kiddie costume. But as I went door to door, all the ladies on the block repeatedly told me how cute I looked as Peter Pan. If only I knew about the importance of accessorizing a hipster beard to an outfit back in grade school…
What is the earliest book you remember reading, and why was it special?
Ribsy by Beverly Cleary was the first chapter book I remember finishing by myself. It was summer, and I was able to negotiate using the only lounge chair we had in the backyard because I was reading. After finishing the book, my next negotiation would be for a dog, which didn’t go as well as the lounge chair. But it wouldn’t be the last time a book put an idea in my head.
What are you reading right now? Would you recommend it?
I am a few chapters into The Angel Maker by Stefan Brijs. Brijs modernizes the horror concept of villagers wondering what the strange doctor is up to in his laboratory. So far, it has been a very promising read and would team very well with the new Gris Grimley-illustrated Frankenstein if I feel like doing some book juggling.
If you could instantly be good at any given thing, what talent would you choose to have?
Learning another language, which I never had a knack for.
What is something that not a lot of people know about you but you wish more people could know?
How thankful I have been this past year for the opportunity to be volunteering at Open Books. There are so many great people that I have met, and they make me feel appreciated for what I can bring to the table. [We blush.]
Who is your favorite character from a fiction or non-fiction book?
Currently, I would have to say Jilly Coppercorn. She is one of the characters who reside in Charles DeLint’s Newford series of urban fantasy books (which also works as a recommendation for people between Neil Gaiman releases). DeLint writes someone in Jilly who you enjoy seeing the world through their eyes. DeLint’s short story “The Buffalo Man” in Tapping The Dream Tree would be a great place to introduce yourself to Jilly.
What is playing on your iPod/CD/record player these days?
Hunky Dory by David Bowie is my go-to album. It has a track for whatever mood I am in. In our car, we have a Xanadu soundtrack that was just handed to my wife one day by a stranger on the street (which is kinda the way you want to come into possession of a musical about a roller-skating Greek muse).