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


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