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


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