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Five Questions for Christina Pascucci Ciampa of All She Wrote Books

Last weekend, Kitty Flynn and I were finally able to make our long-planned visit to All She Wrote Books in Somerville, MA (in Assembly Square — a much fancier place than when the Horn Book office, then in Charlestown, was its neighbor). We got to chat with the store's founder and owner, Christina Pascucci Ciampa, and meet her most adorable puppy; and she later kindly answered the Horn Book editors' Five Questions. Kitty Flynn (left) and Christina Pascucci Ciampa (right). Photo: Elissa Gershowitz.
 
1 + 2. How did All She Wrote Books come to be? How do you choose which books to order?
Christina Pascucci Ciampa: I started All She Wrote Books because I saw was a lack in different types of bookstores, and a lack of curation in the types of feminist and queer books carried. And I asked myself: Instead of blending marginalized voices into bookstore sections where they’ll still be overshadowed by some of publishing’s biggest names, why can’t we have standalone sections where the focus is truly just writers who have been historically marginalized?
The other reason for why I started the bookstore was personal. As a survivor of domestic abuse, I couldn't find stories of people that survived domestic violence — not just women, but queer people, or anyone. Additionally, as someone who is neurodivergent, I saw a lack of representation of disabled characters as well. When I was younger, I did not see any books with someone in a wheelchair featured in it and being this bold, amazing character, or anybody talking about autism, whether it was fiction or nonfiction.
Deep down, I knew these types of books were out there, and so I asked myself: why can't we expose people to these types of books? Let’s get them out of their patterns of reading and buying and take a chance on something different that they otherwise would not pick up. Instead of focusing on everybody, let's focus on the ones that were consistently marginalized throughout time that have worthy, beautiful stories.
 
Photo: Elissa Gershowitz.
3. What’s on your TBR?
CPC: Well, let's just say — I have multiple TBR piles. :-) But in what I like to call my next-up-to-bat TBR pile, this is what is currently on it:
Ten Steps to Nanette: A Memoir by Hannah Gadsby
Ain't I a Woman? by bell hooks
Greedy: Notes from a Bisexual Who Wants Too Much by Jen Winston
Nightcrawling by Leila Mottley
 
4. Any favorites to hand-sell?
CPC: This question is always a challenge for me, as there are so many books that I love to hand-sell. Here are four of my go-to favorites to recommend in the store:
Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay
Bodies Are Cool by Tyler Feder
Women & Other Monsters: Building a New Mythology by Jess Zimmerman
Skye Falling by Mia McKenzie
If you need a fifth — Hail Mary by Britni de la Cretaz & Lyndsey D’Arcangelo
Photo at left, courtesy of All She Wrote books.
 
5. Other than your own, where's your favorite bookstore? 
CPC: Another really hard question to answer! However, my top three favorite bookstores are: Women & Children First in Chicago, IL, Papercuts JP in Jamaica Plain, MA, and Frugal Bookstore in Roxbury, MA.
Photo courtesy of All She Wrote Books.

Elissa Gershowitz

Elissa Gershowitz is acting editor in chief / executive editor of The Horn Book, Inc. She holds an MA from the Center for the Study of Children's Literature at Simmons University and a BA from Oberlin College.

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