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

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

Archive