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