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