About Us



Hi everyone!! My name is DeShanta Hairston and I'm currently 33 years old. I am a graduate of Old Dominion University with a Bachelor's of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies of Professional Writing. I was the recipient of a $12,500 grant from my local Chamber's Startup Martinsville program, where I attended an 8 week business course before writing a business plan and presenting pitch in front of a panel of judges.

I have always loved books from as early as I can remember when my grandma used to read me the Bobbsey Twins. I spent many evenings after school and days on weekends, throughout my childhood and teenage years, convincing my grandma or mom to take me to Waldenbooks in the mall before they closed down just after I graduated high school. I have always felt a strong connection to books and love the feeling of walking in bookstores. There is something magical about spending countless minutes browsing for just the right read. Personally, I'm really horrible at returning library books and prefer to have my own collection at hand. I figured if I felt this way, then there had to be at least one other person who could relate. It helped that the closest bookstore to Martinsville was an hour away in either direction! 

I have a 14-year-old son named Treylan, whom we call Trey. He is nationally ranked in basketball for the Class of 2026, but you'd never know it because he is the one of the most humble boys you'll ever meet. He's my nonchalant, laid back kid. Then there's Marleigh, my four year old, who is definitely the wild child. She's a fierce feminist in the making and definitely walks to the beat of her own drum!

Reading is by far my favorite hobby but I also have a strong love for writing, fashion, and music. I'm extremely free-spirited and open-minded (probably to a fault) and love interacting with all the intellectuals I have come across as an indie bookseller. I aspire to share my passion for books with the world and provoke a desire in children to read more. In my spare time in this pandemic world, you can often find me reading; binge watching my favorite Black sitcoms thanks to Netflix's Strong Black Lead; self-diagnosing health issues via Beyonc√©'s internet; researching conspriacy theories; Googling the cast of movies to get one actor's name and figure out what else I've seen them in; pretending to use the bathroom so I can scroll my phone for a few minutes without my kids calling my name. wink


Books and Crannies is a Black-woman owned independent bookstore, located in Martinsville, Virginia. With the closing of all major book retailers in this area, Books and Crannies filled that market in the region when it opened on September 20, 2016. Books and Crannies is a general interest/literary bookstore featuring fiction and non-fiction accompanied by a selection of children's books and a wide range of titles. A used book section, featuring $2 paperbacks and $5 hardbacks, is also available. Their website offers a seamless online shopping experience with the ability to ship nationally.

Despite the nation facing a year of uncertainty, Books and Crannies has grown on a national scale after DeShanta posted a viral tweet about her hesitation to pronounce her bookstore as black-owned in fear of losing white customers. During the nation's peak of civil unrest, this tweet seemingly offered many people a basic understanding of the underlying effects of systemic racism in America. Not only have people been actively seeking to edcuate themselves on racism and America's real history, but they are making strong efforts to support indie bookstores, especially BIPOC owned. Black booksellers have been recognized nationally over the last few years as people are encouraging others to support them specifically. With hopes that people will continue to support independent bookstores beyond these times, Books and Crannies plans to be a staple in its community and on a national level for many years to come.

Prior to the pandemic, Books and Crannies hosted a variety of events throughout the year such as children's readings, open mic poetry, and book signings featuring local and regional authors; however, most events are now held virtually. As a means to combat social distancing limitations during this time, the store now offers curbside pickup, free local delivery, and the option to place orders online for local pickup and delivery. The payment processor has also been upgraded to support contactless payments to decrease touched surfaces. Hand sanitizer is available and frequently touched surfaces are wiped down throughout the day. We have recently expanded our store team to three; so be sure to welcome Rose and Anastacia if you happen to encounter them!