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


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