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


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