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I Am Books Ribbon Cutting, (L-R) Suffolk County Sherriff Steven Thompkins, City Councilor Sal LaMattina, Italian Consul General of Boston Nicola DeSantis, Co-owners Jim Pinzino and Nicola Orichuia, North End State Rep. Aaron Michlewitz and East Boston State Rep. Adrian Madaro

I Am Books, the country’s first Italian American bookstore, opened this week in Boston’s North End at 189 North Street across from the Paul Revere House.

City Councilor Sal LaMattina browses the bookshelves

Owner Nicola Orichuia and partner Jim Pinzino want the bookstore to serve as a cultural hub for locals and visitors interested in diving into the rich world of Italian and Italian American literature, history, research, art and more. Events will be a notable part of the store with book signings, small concerts and other happenings.

“Our goal is to offer a common space for all those who are deeply passionate about their Italian roots and heritage,” says I Am Books President Nicola Orichuia. “At the same time, we want to open a window onto Italy, a country that fascinates and attracts millions of people from all over the world every year.”

I Am Books sells primarily fiction and non-fiction by Italian and Italian American authors, as well as books on food, cooking, travel and history. The store features a children’s section, with learning material, games and toys as well as books. Those who remember Officina 189 at the location will still find some watch, perfume and handbag offerings in the shop.

At the opening, Pascal Gangi, Lisa Cappuccio and Elise Balzotti

“I’ve had the opportunity to reconnect with my heritage and found it so personally rewarding,” says I Am Books Vice President Jim Pinzino, a semi-retired executive and business owner who hails from the IT sector. “I wanted to offer that same opportunity to Italian Americans as well as the general public.”

An Italian-born journalist, Orichuia launched bostoniano.info in 2011 and Bostoniano magazine in 2013 in an effort to celebrate Italian and Italian American culture and enrich and unite the Boston-area Italian American community. I Am Books is a bricks-and-mortar expression of that same mission.

I Am Books has an ongoing Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign. More information about the project, as well as a short video is available here: iambooksboston.com.

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