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


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