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


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