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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


  1. Notable: Advice from various quarters



    Advice from various quarters

    These books bring wisdom and wit from sources ancient and contemporary.

    Do I Have to Say Hello? Aunt Delia's Manners Quiz for Kids and Their Grownups (Blue Rider Press) by Delia Ephron, illustrations by Edward Koren, offers an irreverent guide for youngsters to good manners everyplace from the dinner table to the soccer field....

  2. Events: Tim Dorsey to talk at Largo Library


    Book Talk

    Tim Dorsey (Shark Skin Suite) will discuss and sign his latest comic crime novel at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Largo Library, 120 Central Park Drive.

    Cynthia Barnett (Rain: A Natural and Cultural History) will discuss her nonfiction book, which was long-listed for the National Book Award, at 7 p.m. Thursday at the St. Petersburg Museum of History, 335 Second Ave. NE....

  3. Things to do in New York: New Whitney Museum is 'amazing'



    “Mommy, this is amazing!" the little girl said, gazing around an elevator interior that looked like a giant woven basket, one of four designed by artist Richard Artschwanger for the new Whitney Museum of American Art.

    "Oh, this is amazing," said a silver-haired woman to her husband as they stepped off that elevator into a vast, light-bathed gallery that afforded what seemed like acres of space for huge canvases by Willem de Kooning, Jackson Pollock and Lee Krassner. ...

    The new Whitney Museum of American Art, in the Meatpacking District neighborhood of New York, was designed by famed architect Renzo Piano. The nine-story building has more than 60,000 square feet of gallery space, with more than 18,000 works of art and a full-service restaurant. Untitled, below, is run by restaurateur Danny Meyer.
  4. Review: Punk rockers Brownstein, Costello and Smith serve up stories


    If you think you know what to expect from the memoirs of punk rock stars, let Carrie Brownstein, Elvis Costello and Patti Smith show you something different.

    Those three names could represent three generations of punk rock royalty. Smith, who will turn 69 in December, was part of the form's first wave in the 1970s; her legendary 1975 album, Horses, was one of its totems.

    Costello, 61, released his brilliant first album, My Aim Is True, just two years later; it was born of punk's energy and rage but showed clear signs of the form's metamorphosis into new wave (not to mention Costello's ability to morph through all sorts of musical genres in the years to come)....

  5. Lonely Thanksgiving: Three books about families crazier than yours


    Editor's note: Thanksgiving. A time for the entire family to gather around the table, smiling and laughing over a golden turkey as if life is just one big Publix commercial. Fortunately, some people actually get that experience. But many others don't. Maybe you and your family live in totally different states. Maybe you just don't have a family. Maybe you have chosen a family of friends. Or maybe you just don't want to talk to your family at all. We got you covered. All week, we're bringing you our Guide to Lonely Thanksgiving. Our critics and writers have offered their best advice for going the holiday alone, from TV to reading to eating out. It doesn't have to be a pity party. If you do it right, you can be thankful for your solitude, too....

  6. Drink of the week: American red, white and bubbly wines for Thanksgiving

    Bars & Spirits

    Red, white or bubbly with Thanksgiving dinner? Any one can work, so for this most American of holidays, here are three delicious American wines.

    For many years, my go-to Thanksgiving dinner wine has been pinot noir. Its bright berry flavors and earthy finish marry well with the many tastes on the table, and its lighter body keeps it from overwhelming the food, as heavier reds like cabernet sauvignon can do....

  7. Coates continues winning streak at National Book Awards


    Ta-Nehisi Coates' Between the World and Me continued what could become a sweep of major literary awards by winning the 2015 National Book Award for nonfiction on Wednesday night. Coates' bestselling book, framed as a letter to his teenage son, combines memoir and commentary in an urgent, utterly timely look at race in America. The book won the $50,000 Kirkus Award in October, and Coates was named a recipient of a MacArthur "genius" grant, for $625,000 over five years, in September....

    Ta-Nehisi Coates won the 2015 National Book Award for nonfiction for "Between the World and Me."
  8. Review: Oliver Sacks' extraordinary life ends with 'Gratitude'


    Not everyone can count his blessings on his deathbed. But Oliver Sacks could. His new, posthumously published essay collection is titled Gratitude.

    Sacks, who died on Aug. 30 at age 82, was a neurologist, physician, professor and bestselling author of such books as Awakenings, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Musicophilia.

    Late last year, he completed a memoir, On the Move: A Life. Weeks later, in January, he learned that a rare melanoma in his right eye, for which he had been successfully treated nine years before, had returned and metastasized to his liver. He knew he had only months to live, so he did what he had always done: He wrote....

    Oliver Sacks, a neurologist, physician, professor and bestselling writer, died of cancer on Aug. 30 at age 82.
  9. Notable: fairy tales remixed



    Fairy tales remixed

    These new books take folk tales and a children's novel to very different places.

    After Alice (William Morrow) by Gregory Maguire (Wicked) is the imaginative story of Ada, a friend who also takes a tumble down the rabbit-hole and ends up trying to rescue Alice from Wonderland.

    The Sleeper and the Spindle (HarperCollins) by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Chris Riddell, is another of Gaiman's brilliant twists on classic tales, a dark mashup of Snow White and Sleeping Beauty, with lovely illustrations....

  10. Events: Former ambassador James A. Joseph to sign his memoir


    Book Talk

    Former U.S. ambassador to South Africa James A. Joseph (Saved for a Purpose: A Journey From Private Virtues to Public Values) will discuss and sign his memoir at 2 p.m. today at Bookstore1Sarasota, 1359 Main St., Sarasota. Seating is limited; call (941) 365-7900 for reservations.

    Local author Tanya Coovadia (Pelee Island Stories) will read from and sign her new short story collection at 4 p.m. today at Craftsman House Gallery, 2955 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. Also reading will be three of Coovadia's friends and mentors, NPR television critic Eric Deggans, University of South Florida St. Petersburg literature professor Tom Hallock and Eckerd College history instructor Lee Irby. For reservations, call (727) 323-2787....

  11. Review: Groff's 'Fates and Furies' a remarkable novel of love, loss and lies


    “Paradox of marriage: you can never know someone entirely; you do know someone entirely," Lauren Groff writes in her splendid new novel Fates and Furies.

    The marriage at the center of the book illustrates both halves of that paradox, in all its glory and heartbreak. We meet a young couple, Lotto and Mathilde, in the book's first pages, on the day they marry, two weeks after they meet. How they come to know each other entirely fills the novel's first half; how much they don't know is stunningly revealed in the second....

  12. Notable: the Supremes



    The Supremes

    Three new biographies turn the spotlight on influential U.S. Supreme Court justices.

    Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Dey Street Books) by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik combines images from the Tumblr of the same name with careful reporting for an irreverent, revealing portrait of the fierce justice.

    Showdown: Thurgood Marshall and the Supreme Court Nomination That Changed America (Knopf) by Wil Haygood (The Butler) frames Marshall's remarkable biography around the dramatic, contentious five-day Senate hearing to confirm him as the first African-American Supreme Court justice....

  13. Events: Children's author Donna Parrey to sign 'MuttCracker'


    Book Talk

    Donna Parrey (The MuttCracker) will sign her children's holiday book at 12:30 p.m. today at Barnes & Noble Brandon, 122 Brandon Town Center Drive. The Brandon Ballet will perform excerpts from The Nutcracker from 1 to 3 p.m.

    The Florida Bibliophile Society presents Patti Wilson Byars (Separate Fountains) discussing her historical novel at 1:30 p.m. today at Seminole Community Library, 9200 113th St. N, Seminole....

  14. Happy New Year for Sherlock fans!


    Huzzah! PBS has posted a new trailer for Sherlock: The Abominable Bride, the special episode of BBC's Sherlock series set in Victorian London (unlike the rest of the series, which is set in the present day, even though Arthur Conan Doyle's stories about Sherlock Holmes were set in Victorian London -- so meta).

    The episode will air on Masterpiece at 9 p.m. on Jan. 1, with an encore on Jan. 10. It will also be shown in theaters on Jan. 5 and 6. Local theaters are Regency 20 in Brandon, Park Place Stadium 16 in Pinellas Park, Citrus Stadium Park 20 in Tampa and Veterans 24 in Tampa. Buy tickets at

  15. Review: John Irving's 'Avenue of Mysteries' full of fascinating surprises


    Juan Diego Guerrero misses his nightmares.

    By day, Juan Diego, the protagonist of John Irving's new novel Avenue of Mysteries, is a noted novelist and a faculty member at the prestigious writing program at the University of Iowa, a man with a productive but quiet life.

    By night, in his dreams, he relives his childhood as un nino de la basura — a scavenger or "dump kid" — in Guerrero, a tiny town adjacent to the massive city dump of Oaxaca, Mexico. Some of his dreams are nightmares, like the one about the accident that resulted in the severe limp he still has. Others, like the one about walking upside down across the sky, are miraculous. And most of them — the ones about his sister, his mother, his probable father and a vivid cast of Jesuit priests, transvestite prostitutes, Vietnam-era draft dodgers, circus performers and a trio of sacred mothers — bring him close to those he loved most and has lost forever....