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

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

Archive