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

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

Archive