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

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

Archive