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

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

Archive