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


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