Shopping cart is empty.

Birchbark Blog

Ten Years of Books

Louise Erdrich - Tuesday, June 08, 2010
This June will mark the TEN YEAR anniversary of Birchbark Books.  I just spent a rainy morning in the bookstore.  It feels like a hundred years and no time at all; it feels like the most unlikely place in the world and the most inevitable; it feels like everywhere in the world and it feels like home.   

The story of our store is on the website -- how we leased the space and took thirteen layers of floor and dentist office equipment.  Check it!

We started out with books culled from BOOKMAN, our local book distributor.  Bookman was absorbed by Ingram and its funky/lovely warehouse turned into Lofts.  Ten years ago, I went there with a shopping cart and loaded the cart, hand picking the likely titles from dim piles, riding up and down a freight elevator, checking out at the end with Bookman clerks including one who was and became the terrific writer Kate DiCamillo.  We put the books on the shelves and tried to figure out how to sell them.  We weren't very good at it.   Denny Magers of Magers and Quinn let me buy some books from him.  I set out books from my own library -- at the time we had a used/new mixture.   

Thank god I kept my day job and the asema that was placed in the walls kept on attracting people who understood that the art of bookselling is unlike any other business.  It is a way of life.  It is an odd and mundane passion.

Books must contain mysteriously the whole of human experience. -- yet sometimes one can hardly believe that there remains yet a new book to be written.  

I just fell in love all over with a big stack of books that have never been written before.  (The Farmer's Daughter by Jim Harrison, and More Remarkable Trees, and everything by Ha Jin). Or books I haven't read yet. (Bleak House)  Or books that made me laugh until I got sick.  (Awkward Family Photos).

I'll write more all summer about bookstore life.  I am just absorbing the fact that we are still here.  Thank you to our devoted customers and delighted newcomers!  Thank you tribal schools and tribal colleges, thank you local schools and teachers.  Thank you everyone who has passed through the blue door.

Louise Erdrich

Canoe Family

Recent PostsRSS


Tags

Louise bill mckibben boarding school Gryphon Press fresh water Kabul graphix E.L. Doctorow aquifer support Victory Gardens favorite tree Light in August cafe Nero Ojibwemowin Dogs Let's Take the Long Way Home Milkweed Press Wastepaper Book Review Anishinabe anniversary Pembina Peak Water spring Minneapolis Unnatural Disasters mississippi Islam Keeping Heart on Pine Ridge Wolf Hall The Game of Silence customers Beth Dooley Kate DiCamillo Czech Writer tree books Green Team friends language revitalization Anton Treuer Canada Afghanistan france thanks Philip Roth Poetry Botany Ha Jin Dartmouth north dakota Women and Trees World on the Edge Catalyst Empire of the Summer Moon local economy peculiar touches of green and gold Emily Johnson show your love William Trevor Patrick O'Brian ptsd knowledge favorite dog post holiday reads ependent H2Oil Makoons pilgrims twins Wendy Makoons Geniusz Bohumil Hrabal National Book Award leaves and snow Easter Island Video Kenwood Gardens Aubrey/Maturin Roberto Bolano President Obama Fireworks Magers and Quinn book and dinner club NACDI:All My Relations The Transition Handbook coyote Greenland Small Bookstores as Commons Ojibwe solstice, Thomas King Love Gail Caldwell post holiday italy Bleak House incarnation School Gardens how good looking you are Peak Oil neighborhood Hilary Mantel gardens gratitude Remarkable Trees photography Brown Dog Aza Chitra Divakaruni Chickadee Alan Weisman Jim Harrison joy cafe closing State Troopers The Birchbark House Up Late Again Keystone XL Bill Moyers Journal Collective Denial Interview city of books 2666 green monkey in a dryer Hillary Clinton germany Minnesota Alice Munro devoted customers plants euphoria 350.org Native People Zombies Anishinabemowin Too Loud A Solitude The Wealth of Nature More Remarkable Trees Mankato Powwow Keepers of the Trees birchbark house series Crushing Books The Royal Prussian Library Ice japan the most romantic city in the world S.C. Gwynne favorite book Native Arts The Farmer's Daughter adventure china trees The Resilient Gardener Rare Books Our Knowledge Is Not Primitive Tar Sands Too Much Happiness Birchbark Books Stephen Salisbury ireland Michael Jackson Education buffalo Vic Glover Nemesis Population sweden British Navy The Blue Sky This Green World Mohamed's Ghosts thank you friends The Ojibwe Tree Houses Climate Change The Porcupine Year Gary Clement health care reform

Archive