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


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