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

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

Archive