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


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