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


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