Book Club

‘I wanted people to find themselves’: Meet All She Wrote Books’ Christina Pascucci-Ciampa

Pascucci-Ciampa joins's Book Club to explore the nuances of Tucker Shaw's "When You Call My Name."

Christina Pascucci-Ciampa
Christina Pascucci-Ciampa, founder and owner of All She Wrote Books. Photo courtesy of Christina Pascuicci-Ciampa

When Christina Pascucci-Ciampa started reading “The Feminist Bookstore Movement” by Kristen Hogan, a book that was gifted by her partner, it got her thinking about the now-closed New Words Bookstore in Cambridge. She wondered why the Boston area no longer had a feminist, queer-friendly shop.

“Every time I go into some of my favorite indie bookstores in Boston, one of the things that drove me nuts is that I would see the same five titles, in the gender section, or the feminism section,” she said. “I was like, I don’t understand: why can’t there be more?”

Pascucci-Ciampa was inspired to open All She Wrote Books, an intersectional, inclusive, feminist and queer indie bookstore. She began by partnering with local Somerville businesses, including Bow Market, Juliet, and Winter Hill Brewing Company, launching pop-ups where she would bring a three shelf, Ikea cart loaded with books. When this endeavor was well received, she opened a brick and mortar shop at Assembly Row in 2020. The pandemic forced the physical location to remain closed for some time, but when it finally started welcoming customers, it was a breath of fresh air.


“I wanted people to find themselves in the books on the shelves,” Pascucci-Ciampa said. And she immediately saw the impact that the shop had on visitors. “I’ve seen so many different ranges of emotion [at the store]. I’ve seen people cry in my bookstore, being like, ‘This book makes me feel seen.’ I’ve had people [who] just squeal with joy.”

All She Wrote Books is a place where Pascucci-Ciampa hopes visitors will feel welcomed and appreciated. She has seen conversations between patrons on issues affecting the queer community, from book bans, to gender transitioning, to legislation. The store is meant to be a safe space for this exchange of ideas. “We’re here for that reason,” she said.

Some of Pascucci-Ciampa’s favorite books include “Bad Feminist” by Roxane Gay, “Patricia Wants To Cuddle” by Samantha Leigh Allen, and “How We Get Free: Black Feminism and the Combahee River Collective,” an essay collection edited by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor. An author who deeply impacted her on a personal level is Langston Hughes.

“[His writing] made me hungry for different types of stories and books, from people who didn’t look like me,” she said. “… I want those different perspectives because I feel like that’s so important.” At the same time, Pascucci-Ciampa strongly identified with Hughes’ works. “It was him talking about feeling different and feeling somewhat separated, but not really — there was just something, and I grabbed onto that.”


The queer stories that All She Wrote Books celebrates include a novel that’s Book Club will feature as this month’s pick, “When You Call My Name,” by Tucker Shaw. Pascucci-Ciampa will be in conversation with the author on July 26. The book is Shaw’s first novel, but he has “decades of experience writing and editing.”

“When You Call My Name” is set in New York City during the 1990s, following the journey of Adam, a 17-year-old who falls in love with a young man named Callum. The two are living in the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and when Callum is hospitalized, Adam’s world is thrown out of orbit. Meanwhile, Ben has left his home after his mother’s discovery of his hidden gay magazines. When Ben and Adam’s lives cross paths, they form a meaningful bond.

“[It’s] ultimately [about] finding out who your people are,” Pascucci-Ciampa said. “… What [resonates with me] is trying to find your community, within the new places that you go.” She added, “[Shaw] does an amazing job of really giving depth to these characters [and] also giving them depth in a way that you can envision them being part of your community, people you would run into.”


The book explores heavy subjects, but it essentially feels hopeful, she said.

“It’s a beautiful story: there’s love, there’s pain, there’s a whole range of emotion,” Pascucci-Ciampa said. “That’s what makes these characters more human.”

Pascucci-Ciampa will speak with Shaw on July 26 at 6 p.m., about his stirring young adult novel.