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


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