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Colette Bancroft, Times Book Editor

Colette Bancroft

Colette Bancroft is the book editor of the Tampa Bay Times. She joined the Times in 1997 and has been a news editor, general assignment features writer and food and travel writer, as well as a frequent contributor of reviews of books, theater and other arts. She became book editor in 2007. Before joining the Times, Bancroft was a reporter and editor at the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson and an instructor in the English departments of the University of South Florida and the University of Arizona. Bancroft grew up in Tampa.

Phone: (727) 893-8435

Email: cbancroft@tampabay.com

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  1. Review: Oliver Sacks' 'On the Move' a ride through a life well lived

    Books

    Thanks to a media-friendly personality and bestselling books like Awakenings, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Musicophilia, physician and author Oliver Sacks is a familiar cultural figure, sort of everybody's charming, eccentric, really brilliant uncle.

    But take a look at the cover photo on Sacks' new memoir, On the Move. He wasn't always your nice old uncle. Once upon a time, he was a dude with a body builder physique and a leather jacket, sitting astride a powerful motorcycle with a look on his face that suggests he's thinking about nothing but the next big adventure....

    Oliver Sacks writes in his memoir about his youthful passion for motorbikes, like this Norton he bought in 1956.
  2. Events: Sarasota PoetryLife festival features Billy Collins

    Books

    Book Talk

    Local author David C. Edmonds (Lily of Peru) will discuss and sign his thriller at 3 p.m. April 27 at Tarpon Springs Public Library, 138 E Lemon St.

    Bestselling author Steve Berry (The Patriot Threat) will give an author presentation via Skype at 2:30 p.m. May 1 at Southshore Regional Library, 15816 Beth Shields Way, Ruskin.

    The fourth annual PoetryLife festival presents a poetry salon luncheon with former U.S. poet laureate Billy Collins, New York state poet laureate Marie Howe and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Tracy K. Smith at 11:30 a.m. May 1 at Bowne's Lab, Florida Studio Theatre, 1241 N Palm Ave., Sarasota. Get tickets, which cost $35 and include lunch, at (941) 366-9000 or floridastudiotheatre.org. Collins, Howe and Smith will read from and sign their work at 7 p.m. May 1 at Court Cabaret at FST; tickets $25. A Young Voices poetry reading, featuring winners of PoetryLife's writing contest as well as Collins, Howe and Smith, takes place at 1 p.m. May 2 at Bowne's Lab; tickets $15. The Community Favorites reading is at 4 p.m. May 2 in Court Cabaret; tickets $15....

  3. Notable: men of music

    Books

    Notable

    Men of music

    New memoirs delve into the harmonies and discords of the lives of three accomplished (and very different) musicians.

    Anger Is an Energy: My Life Uncensored (Dey St./William Morrow) by John Lydon, notoriously better known as Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols, is his inside look at his career in that band and in Public Image Ltd., and later as a cultural commentator....

  4. Review: Toni Morrison's 'God Help the Child'

    Books

    With God Help the Child, Toni Morrison brings her brilliant multibook epic of black life in America into the present.

    Morrison's first 10 novels were all set in the past, from the 1970s (Paradise and Tar Baby) all the way back to the last days of slavery (her masterpiece, Beloved) and further, to its earliest years (A Mercy). God Help the Child takes place in the 21st century, complete with cellphones and references to the war in Iraq, but it's part of the same long arc — and it bends toward hope. ...

    Toni Morrison, 84, is the only living American Nobel laureate for literature. Her accolades include a Pulitzer.
  5. Review: Cynthia Barnett's 'Rain: A Natural and Cultural History'

    Books

    Without rain, we wouldn't be here, Cynthia Barnett tells us in her fascinating new book Rain: A Natural and Cultural History.

    She's not just talking about the obvious fact that every life form on the planet needs water to survive, and rain is nature's way of spreading it around.

    No, Barnett takes us back much further in Earth's history, to the Hadean era, some 4.6 billion years ago, when Earth was "a red-faced and hellish infant," part of the newly shed debris from the formation of the sun. In the beginning, three planets had water, but on Venus, closest to the sun, it boiled away, and on Mars it froze and remains locked in ice caps and rocks. ...

  6. Greg Sestero to sign 'The Disaster Artist' at Inkwood

    Books

    Book Talk

    The University of South Florida Humanities Institute's Poetry Month programs continue with a reading by poets Sandra Beasley (Theories of Falling) and Meg Day (Last Psalm at Sea Level) at 6 p.m. Tuesday; Beasley, Day and poet Erica Dawson will appear on a panel on gender and poetry at 6 p.m. Wednesday. Both events are in the TECO Room, Education Building, USF, 4202 E Fowler Ave., Tampa. ...

  7. Events: Ersula Knox Odom to discuss 'African Americans of Tampa'

    Books

    Book Talk

    Ersula Knox Odom (African Americans of Tampa) will discuss and sign her book of local history at 6 p.m. April 14 at C. Blythe Andrews Jr. Public Library, 2607 E Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Tampa.

    Local poets Silvia Curbelo (Falling Landscapes), Victoria Dym (Class Clown) and Heather Sellers (Dive) will read from and sign their work at 7 p.m. April 14 at Poetry Night at Inkwood Books, 216 S Armenia Ave., Tampa....

  8. Notable: cook the books

    Books

    Notable

    Cook the books

    No, not your tax returns. These three new books feature evocative recipes.

    Life From Scratch: A Memoir of Food, Family and Forgiveness (National Geographic) by Sasha Martin, a popular food blogger, combines a poignant memoir about her childhood with her four-year quest to cook a meal from each of the globe's 195 countries.

    Little Beach Street Bakery (William Morrow) by Jenny Colgan (Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe) is a romantic-comic novel about a heartbroken young woman who changes her life by moving to Cornwall and working at a bakery....

  9. Get a character named for yourself in Michael Connelly's next book

    Books

    Have you ever thought it would be fun to have a favorite novelist name a character after you? Now's your chance — and you can contribute to a worthy cause at the same time.

    Internationally bestselling crime fiction author Michael Connelly is a longtime Tampa resident, and through April 12 fans can bid on an eBay auction of a character name in his next novel, with all of the proceeds benefitting Tampa's Trinity Cafe....

    Michael Connelly’s name auction will benefit Tampa’s Trinity Cafe.
  10. Notable: Prose on poetry

    Books

    Notable

    Prose on poetry

    April is Poetry Month, a perfect time for these books on the subject by three splendid writers.

    On Elizabeth Bishop (Princeton University Press) by Colm Toíbín is the accomplished Irish novelist's literary biography of the powerful, enigmatic American poet who greatly influenced his writing, and that of many others.

    Ten Windows: How Great Poems Transform the World (Alfred A. Knopf) by Jane Hirshfield, who is a critic and translator of poetry as well as a prize-winning poet, combines her eloquent close readings with wide-ranging scholarship for a fresh look at poetry. ...

  11. Closing the book on 'Mad Men' (w/video)

    The Feed

    Could the great American novel be a TV series? • If we can define the great American novel as one that illuminates the culture and concerns of an era in our history in a compelling and well-wrought narrative, Mad Men might well count. • The first episode of the second half of Season 7, the final season of Mad Men, premieres April 5, and viewing it brought that comparison to mind for me, not for the first time. • Since Mad Men premiered on July 19, 2007, its average audience has never topped 3 million viewers, but its cultural influence has been outsized. It won glowing critical acclaim and scored 15 Emmys. It inspired fashion and decor and an ocean of craft cocktails, and it made stars of its cast, almost all of whom were unknowns. (When the show premiered, the best-known actor in the cast was Robert Morse, who played Bert Cooper until he soft-shoed off to the afterlife during the first half of the last season.) • What made Mad Men different from a thousand other series? Lots of things, but I'd argue that one of the most important is that writer-director-producer Matthew Weiner has created it as if it were a novel, shaping and deepening it in ways that few TV series can match. • Actual books have regularly appeared on screen in Mad Men — something of a rarity on TV — playing a role in the series' meticulous period authenticity and often telling us something about the people reading them. We've seen main character Don Draper reading everything from Frank O'Hara's Meditations in an Emergency to Philip Roth's Portnoy's Complaint. Tonight's episode gives us a mysterious character engrossed in John Dos Passos' U.S.A. trilogy, which is, among other things, an epic critique of the capitalism the characters thrive upon....

    The characters on Mad Men have captured an era, and sold us a story. 
From left are Kiernan Shipka as Sally Draper, January Jones as Betty Francis, Jessica Pare as Megan Draper and Jon Hamm as Don Draper.
  12. Cuban Sangwich Show celebrates Tampa art, literature

    Events

    MUY SABROSO: Cuban Sangwich Show

    "All Tampa. All Art. No Mayo" is the motto of this whimsical celebration of the city and its most famous culinary treat.

    The Cuban Sangwich Show (the spelling approximates how Tampa's Cuban residents pronounced the word back in the day) opens Wednesday — April Fools' Day — with a Tampa-themed art exhibition, performances by singer-songwriter Ronny Elliott and actor Jorge Acosta, and a reading of Tampa poet laureate James B. Tokley's Epic of the Sandwiche Cubano. ...

    The show will feature a reading of Tampa poet laureate James B. Tokley's Epic of the Sandwiche Cubano. [Times files 2007]
  13. Review: 'H Is for Hawk' a soaring memoir of loss, love and wildness

    Books

    In many cultures across the centuries, Helen Macdonald tells us, hawks and falcons have been seen as messengers between two worlds: the world of the living and that of the dead.

    A raptor serves just such a purpose in Macdonald's stunning memoir, H Is for Hawk. In it, she tells the riveting story of how she coped with the sudden death of her beloved father: by immersing herself in the long and difficult process of training a goshawk, one of the largest and fiercest birds of prey used in falconry....

    The goshawk (Accipiter gentilis) is one of the largest and fiercest birds of prey used in falconry.
  14. Notable: Seeking Jesus

    Books

    Notable

    Seeking Jesus

    With Easter approaching, here are books factual and fictional about Jesus Christ.

    Christ Actually: The Son of God for the Secular Age (Viking) by James Carroll is the Roman Catholic historian's deeply informed interpretation of what we know about Jesus, how we know it and what it all means in the 21st century.

    The Fifth Gospel (Simon & Schuster) by Ian Caldwell is a fictional thriller set in the Vatican and revolving around the murder of the curator of an exhibition related to the Shroud of Turin and its links to the little-known gospel of the title....

  15. Events: Randy Wayne White to sign 'Cuba Straits'

    Books

    Book Talk

    Bestselling author Randy Wayne White (Cuba Straits) will discuss and sign his thriller at 1 p.m. today at Haslam's Book Store, 2025 Central Ave., St. Petersburg.

    Presented by the University of South Florida Humanities Institute, Palestinian-American poet Naomi Shihab Nye (Tender Spot) will read from her work at 6 p.m. Monday in Marshall Student Center 4200 at the University of South Florida, 4202 E Fowler Ave., Tampa. Nye will appear on a panel with fellow Arab-American poets Sueir Hammad, Tahani Salah and Amir Rabiyah at 6 p.m. Wednesday in MSC 4200....