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


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