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

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

Archive