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

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

Archive