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


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