I was saddened this morning to learn that Carla Cohen — one of the co-founders of Politics & Prose, just about the coolest independent bookstore out there — passed away yesterday at age 74. The Washington Post obituary is right here.
Politics & Prose — like Powell’s in Oregon — is one of great meccas for independent bookstore lovers. It’s a place nearly every aspiring author — especially authors of non-fiction — wants to speak, especially on the off-chance that C-SPAN will be there to record the talk for broadcast. It’s a place that’s unapologetically nerdy and erudite and just a bit eclectic. Its clientele don’t come in looking for science fiction or romance novels; they want books of wonky politics, literary history, or economics.
I had the great pleasure of meeting Carla Cohen and her business partner, Barbara Meade, when I spoke about Washington Irving at P&P in early 2008. She cared deeply about books, and even more about readers. She’ll be missed.
There is nothing quite like an independent book store.