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

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

Archive