by Samantha Loveland

“The bookstore will offer superior service and unusual book choices; it will serve as a gathering place for people interested in reading and discussing books.” – Carla Cohen & Barbara Meade

When you hear the name Politics & Prose you instantly think of the bookstore as being a niche store that specializes in books on politics. The truth is that that couldn’t be farther from the reality of what the store really is and what it means. To anyone on the outside looking in, reading this name from afar and thinking they’d never look twice at a store that caters to such a specific clientele, you wouldn’t know the truth of what this store means. From the community surrounding Politics & Prose to what makes this store unlike any other you’re likely to encounter anytime soon.


Politics and Prose was originally started in 1984 as a small bookstore with two owners and one part-time employee in Washington DC. Carla Cohen and Barbara Meade built their business from the ground up, starting off small and moving into a larger space at 5015 Conneticut Avenue (just across the street from their small store) with larger dreams in 1989, when timing and money came together to give them the opportunity they had dreamed of. In 1999 they’re store only expanded further when Cheshire Cat, the preeminent children’s bookstore in the United States and the inspiration for starting Politics & Prose, them to make for a larger children’s book section in the growing store with more books than Cheshire Cat sold on its own before. After the passing of owner Carla Cohen in 2010, the bookstore sold to Bradley Graham and Lissa Muscatine, both of whom were journalists for The Washington Post and Lissa was even the speechwriter for Hilary Clinton at both the White House and the State Department.

“A book can be bought anywhere; community can’t be.” – Bradley Graham & Lissa Muscatine

Bradley Graham and Lissa Muscatine held true to the store and community that Carla Cohen and Barbara Meade had built and sustain Politics & Prose in its well-respected form.

The store is dedicated to finding books about the world and the nation, about peoples’ lives and their ideas, and they are always fond of fiction writing that will inspire and affect the community. Politics & Prose has far from a small selection; with what can be said to be the largest variety of books you will find in an indie bookstore, they have everything from children’s literature  to psychology and everything in between. The store caters to the wants and desires of the community that they’re situated in, and to Politics and Prose, community is what matters.Politics & Prose isn’t the just a store for books on politics like one might think when

Community is truly what has made this store. The staff at Politics & Prose are heavily dedicated to serving their community. They are well-read, do their research, are exceptionally helpful to customers, and they cater to the needs of the community in every way possible. The staff is well-known for their respectable and kind treatment of every type of customer, consumer and author around.


Not only does Politics & Prose take care of the customers every need, but they also cater to their needs as a community. Looking at their calendar it’s easy to see that every day is booked with all types of events, including author visits. Politics & Prose also offers events that are both fun and educational like the classes they host for literature and psychology, as well as both store run and customer run book clubs. In addition to all the great events hosted in the store, Politics & Prose hosts frequent both national and international, like their trips to Spain and France. These trips offer a wonderful cultural insight, like the trip to the Brandywine River region (a place that snakes between Pennsylvania and Delaware) that is rich with cultural history and nature, able to inspire any and all who see it. And it’s all because Politics & Prose is dedicated to not just being another run of the mill bookstore, but being a community in its own rights.

Politics & Prose is more than just a bookstore. It’s a place that’s dedicated to building a community and supporting a community. It is an essential part of the community and a place you definitely do not want to miss out on.

Images courtesy of Tin House, The Guardian and Adrian van Leen

Samantha Loveland is currently a senior at Appalachian State University earning her Bachelor of Arts in English with a focus on Creative Writing and a minor in Psychology. Currently interning as a junior editor with Author’s Boutique, Samantha is working towards her dream of being an editor in publishing after finishing college. Samantha also hopes to write a book of her own in the future.