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


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