I Look Forward to…Reading

Recently, my granddaughter Sophie Eagle and I visited Minneapolis expressly to explore, not the giant Mall of the Americas, but rather a small independent bookshop owned by the Ojibway author, Louise Erdrich.

In keeping with her tribal roots, Erdrich named her tiny shop Birchbark Books. It’s tucked into a residential area with strip parks (no strip-malling in this neighborhood). The streets liberally sprinkled with trees and bushes, the bookshop, once some family’s home, is one where incoming guests mustn’t blink or they’ll miss the bookstore entirely. That would be a pity. It’s such a treasure.

step inside & stay awhile

Like other visitors in the know, Sophie and I went with the afternoon spreading out before us, empty hours without any plans elsewhere. Taking off in different directions, we made sure to cover every inch of the place, although we moved as slow as turtles. In large part, that’s because posted on the majority of bookshelves and square cubbies, Louise Erdrich and her staff make recommendations for ‘good’ and ‘favorite’ reads.

gettin’ the goods

I read at least fifty of such placards, and then weighed one ‘best read’ against another. Such tough choices. Eventually I was able to pile the most attractive into a mailing box, generously provided at the desk, and have them shipped out a day or so later. As I expected to travel for months, I had the carton sent to my daughter’s home in New Jersey.

Soon, the box of books arrived at her house and got stuffed in a closet. Since then, I’ve seen my daughter twice. Neither time did either of us remember the box of goodies from Birchbark Books. Until too late. Darn!

I think about those books, taken from the shelves months ago. I don’t remember a title or author in the bunch. Nor have I received them, but I certainly look forward to the reunion, so I can rip open the box like an excited kid at holiday time. Once more, the books will be new to me. I plan to dive into each with gusto—the way I did in Erdrich’s bookstore. Oh, what delights await me. Again.