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

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

Archive