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

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

Archive