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


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