If I’m ever in Minneapolis, visiting Birchbark will be at the top of my list. It’s a local bookstore founded by one of my favorite authors, the legendary Louise Erdrich, and it sounds wonderful. It sells all kinds of books but specializes in Native American authors and culture, including a wide selection of language instructional books, including Ojibwe, Dakota, Lakota, and Inuktitut.
I can imagine that when you walk in the place smells like wood and ink and new paper and maybe coffee. Just like a perfect bookstore should.
I’ve grown up with Erdrich’s work; The Master Butcher’s Singing Club is a book that means a lot to me which I’ve returned to a few times over the years. It’s hard to sum up how her work has affected me but, at the very least, her stories have taught me a lot about what it means to be American and how that notion is both more complex and more simple than it may seem. I dunno. Just read her stuff, you’ll see. Or, better yet, visit her store.