About Crooked Timber Books






Bill and Bernice

We are the owners, the buyers, the wrappers, the everything at the bookstore. We are Bill and Bernice Schrank. We have been married for nearly 50 years. We met as graduate students at the University of Wisconsin. Bill was working on a Ph.D. in economics, and I was working on a Ph.D. in English literature. Both of us were patrons of the Green Lantern Eating Co-op, a gathering place for poor students who were willing to work to reduce the cost of meals and who liked the exciting conversation of other students from every comer of the University who gathered together twice a day, Monday to Saturday, to eat, laugh and talk. This unromantic site was where we met.

In 1967, Bill took a position in the Economics Department at the University of Essex in England and we went off to Colchester for two years. Needless to say, we acquired a great many books in those two years. In 1969, I accepted a job in the English Department at Memorial University of Newfoundland. The next year. Bill accepted a job in the Economics Department at Memorial. Bill is now retired. During his teaching career, he developed an interest in the Newfoundland cod fishery, and after its collapse, tracing its tragic decline. He has published many articles and several books on this and related topics. Bill has always been an avid and ecumenical reader. Novels, history, economics, current events, these all engage him. Many of the books in the shop in these areas reflect his curiosity and his reading habits.

I work primarily in the areas of modem American and Irish literature. Most of the American literature on our shelves comes from my background in American literature at Wisconsin. Most of our Irish holdings come from my long engagement with the work of Sean O'Casey, Brendan Behan, Brian Friel, Edna O'Brien and many other Irish writers. We have a range of other interests, many of them seemingly mundane, but highly enjoyable.

Bill is an avid baseball fan, and loves to go to ball games. He likes to shoot pool. He loves swimming in the ocean. Best of all, he loves informed conversation, which has distinct virtues (and maybe even a drawback or two) in a bookstore when people with strong opinions stop in. I like to talk too. I also knit, bake and make many of the necklaces we sell. I use African trade beads, semi-precious stones and anything else I can get my hands on. In summers, I garden. That means I try (and often fail) to keep one step ahead of the gout-weed and dandelions. Still, we have beautiful displays of daylilies and Japanese tree peonies. The front of our shop, in June, is a mass of red rugosa roses.

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