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Politics and Prose's Carla Cohen has died

Carlacohen Carla Cohen, the co-founder of Politics and Prose Bookstore in Washington, D.C., died of cancer Monday, the bookstore announced on its website. She was 74.

Cohen founded the bookstore in 1984 with Barbara Meade, who handled the money side of things. Cohen had been an aide in the Carter administration, and Politics and Prose became known for its superb collection of books focused on current affairs.

Bill Clinton is one of the hundreds of authors who has signed books at the store; so have J.K. Rowling, Bret Easton Ellis and Salman Rushdie. Like many independent bookstores, Politics and Prose also carries fiction. In a post on the bookstore's website, Cohen's recommendations included "More Than Just Race: Being Black and Poor in the Inner City" by William Julius Wilson, "My Two Polish Grandfathers" by Witold Rybczynski and Michelle Huneven's "Blame."

In June, the Washington Post reported that Politics and Prose was for sale.

"It's time for us to stop and let somebody else take over for the future," Meade told the paper. Although many independent bookstores have been struggling with the pressures of the troubled economy and changes in the publishing industry, Meade said they were doing fine. "There are no financial problems here," she said. "We make a good profit." She reported that book sales for the year were up.

"I just don't have the energy like I used to," Cohen told the paper, acknowledging her illness.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: Carla Cohen at a Politics and Prose event in 2007. Credit: runneralan2004 via Flickr

 
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