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

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

Archive