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

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

Archive