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


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