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

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

Archive