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

favorite dog Bohumil Hrabal Makoons Ice germany friends Peak Water S.C. Gwynne Alice Munro photography Minnesota The Royal Prussian Library Canada Greenland Magers and Quinn H2Oil Kabul Light in August neighborhood Tar Sands Fireworks Ojibwemowin book and dinner club The Resilient Gardener italy Gary Clement Climate Change mississippi Alan Weisman The Transition Handbook incarnation Tree Houses 350.org spring Keeping Heart on Pine Ridge twins Crushing Books Hillary Clinton Roberto Bolano Green Team pilgrims Jim Harrison graphix Remarkable Trees Anishinabemowin Chickadee Easter Island leaves and snow knowledge Dogs boarding school support north dakota Empire of the Summer Moon Gail Caldwell Master Butchers Singing Club ptsd devoted customers post holiday peculiar touches of green and gold Unnatural Disasters Rare Books Aubrey/Maturin The Ojibwe health care reform Video gratitude thank you friends National Book Award The Blue Sky Vic Glover Bill Moyers Journal Mankato Powwow Dartmouth This Green World language revitalization Education Book Review Brown Dog Anishinabe favorite book birchbark house series ireland The Round House Native Arts japan Hilary Mantel Too Loud A Solitude Nemesis Love Milkweed Press Philip Roth Wastepaper coyote gardens Interview Poetry NACDI:All My Relations Ha Jin Keystone XL anniversary State Troopers Aza city of books Louise Small Bookstores as Commons The Game of Silence Pembina Anton Treuer Islam Czech Writer Stephen Salisbury cafe closing World on the Edge the most romantic city in the world trees Women and Trees cafe sweden france bill mckibben Population British Navy Nero Emily Johnson china Catalyst Ojibwe solstice, Thomas King The Porcupine Year Keepers of the Trees Too Much Happiness President Obama aquifer More Remarkable Trees Up Late Again Wolf Hall favorite tree Gryphon Press plants monkey in a dryer Patrick O'Brian Wendy Makoons Geniusz Beth Dooley Guthrie Theater Birchbark Books The Birchbark House Our Knowledge Is Not Primitive joy green Peak Oil 2666 Victory Gardens Collective Denial Mohamed's Ghosts Botany thanks show your love Michael Jackson customers William Trevor Afghanistan Let's Take the Long Way Home Bleak House tree books The Wealth of Nature Kenwood Gardens fresh water E.L. Doctorow Zombies Minneapolis post holiday reads ependent local economy adventure how good looking you are School Gardens Chitra Divakaruni buffalo The Farmer's Daughter euphoria Native People Kate DiCamillo

Archive