Bookstore Owner Christina Pascucci Ciampa Creates Welcome Niche for Queer Books

by Steve Duffy

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Friday January 6, 2023

Christina Pascucci Ciampa
Christina Pascucci Ciampa   

According to the webpage for "All She Wrote Books, a bookstore ' in Somerville, MA, Christina Pascucci Ciampa saw a need for feminist and queer books finding their way onto bookshelves for consumers. And she did so by starting small: by partnering with local businesses (the Canopy Room at Bow Market and Winter Hill Brewing Company) by asking them if she could bring her 3-shelf Ikea cart of curated new and used books to set herself up in a small section of their stores. This led to Ciampa opening All She Wrote Books at Assembly Row in Somerville that will be celebrating its two-year anniversary this July.

"When Christina is not at the bookstore, she is spending time with her partner, Chris, and her corgi puppy Ruby, as well as family and friends." her bio on the shop's webpage reads. "You can also find her at community garden plot harvesting some really good tomatoes and eggplants this year."

EDGE spoke to Christina about what prompted her to want to start her own bookstore, surviving in an increasingly shrinking market, and just what she's reading lately.

The interior of  All She Wrote Books
The interior of All She Wrote Books  

EDGE: What was the idea behind creating That's all she wrote bookstore?

Christina Pascucci Ciampa: There are a couple of facets to why I wanted to start All She Wrote Books. One of them—and this is one of the biggest reasons—is the current situation with Barnes & Noble and other things going on right now in the publishing industry. Barnes & Noble just recently announced that they are going to be a little bit more selective on how they stock their stores, but not selective in a good way, but more based on sales versus having diversified voices. Also, one of the things that drove me crazy as a consumer was the fact that when I would go to the feminist or gender studies section of a bookstore, it's always the same titles. Or, if I wanted to learn more about LGBTQ history, it's the same five titles and never propped out or spaced out to celebrate. I know there's more books out there. I should be reading them. I should have access to them. That is the genesis of why I started the bookstore.

EDGE: As one of the few queer-owned bookstores in the Boston area, what are some of the challenges you are facing?

Christina Pascucci Ciampa: It's crazy. Sometimes I'm speechless about it. It's just so important to have this space. Boston has a queer community. It does exist, but they don't have many places to go. I'm super proud to know that we exist, but we need more spaces to go and be ourselves. I'm constantly thinking how we can continuously bring the queer community into the space and letting more queer folks know that we exist. I think of all the little baby queers out there that need support. I don't want to be the only ship in town. I hope that we can inspire others to create safe spaces similar to ours.

Christina Pascucci Ciampa:and a friend
Christina Pascucci Ciampa:and a friend  

EDGE: Where have you found support?

Christina Pascucci Ciampa: A lot of the nonprofits that we help support, support us. One of the projects that we are working on here in Somerville and East Somerville is with an organization called Connection. Connection is a faith-based organization, so they are Church. However, their Pastor is a queer man and their goal is to eventually turn into a nonprofit that works with LGBTQIA youth. We have other organizations that help us greatly. I also find support within my family and friends. I have an amazing partner who has been one of my biggest cheerleaders. We also have a bookstore pup named Ruby. Most importantly, the customers support us. I love how they come in and share their stories while feeling comfortable enough to be in our space. It makes coming to work worthwhile.

EDGE: What's your favorite section of the store?

Christina Pascucci Ciampa: My father passed away in January of 2021. I feel his presence here in the bookstore every day. For our Story Hour, we use his beautiful very worn leather chair, that he purchased a long time ago. It's very comfortable! I feel like he's always here and he shows me in certain ways that he's here and supporting me every day.

Christina Pascucci Ciampa her corgi puppy Ruby
Christina Pascucci Ciampa her corgi puppy Ruby  

EDGE: When was the first time you felt seen as a queer person in literature?

Christina Pascucci Ciampa: When I was a kid my parents were very good about exposing us to the library. The library was my jam, and I loved it. I still love the library. I am a huge fan of autobiographies and biographies. I came across all different types, and one in particular that I really was drawn to was author Audre Lorde. I believe I was either 14 or 15 years old and I had no idea what I was reading, but a lot of the things that she was talking about I could see a little bit of me in it. I just kept wanting to dig a little into queer literature. Author Patricia Highsmith was one of my other first authors that I feel seen by. I identify as bisexual. I love everyone. I can't choose. I heard this saying from a local bisexual comedian, "I'm just double majoring." I love that. That is exactly who I am.

EDGE: Which one book would you love to put in people's hands?

Christina Pascucci Ciampa: There are so many books that everyone should read. Right now, I love two books from author Samantha Allen. She wrote "Patricia Wants to Cuddle," and it is hilarious. It is gay. It is everything. The other book is "Real Queer America: LGBT Stories from Red States."

EDGE: What's most rewarding about managing a queer-oriented bookshop?

Christina Pascucci Ciampa: I think the most rewarding part about the store in particular, is the conversations that I have with people that come in. Many customers have traveled far to visit us, so our store has become a destination. I also love and appreciate that our community continuously shows up for us and support us. I could go on - The connections that we make or when someone gets excited because they feel represented in a book they have read. Honestly, there is no other job in the world that I would want to do. This is definitely a dream job come true.

EDGE: What are you reading now?

Christina Pascucci Ciampa: I just finished reading Nightcrawling by author Leila Mottley. It is absolutely beautiful. It is trauma written. It is one of the most beautiful books I've read in quite some time. It talks about the fictional story of a sex worker who gets mixed up in a big case. Police officers are involved because they're using sex workers and intimidating them. This is a story that actually happened in Oakland, back in the mid-2000s. I am also re-reading Please Don't Sit on My Bed in Your Outside Clothes by Phoebe Robinson. She's amazing. I love her. She's hilarious. It's just good to sometimes to read some comedy in the mixed with other things that you're reading.

For more information about All She Wrote Books visit,