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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. Review: Fetch a copy of 'Good Dog' for a pack of fine tales


    Americans love their dogs, and Southerners love their storytelling. No Southern storyteller worth his or her salt is without at least one story, funny or poignant or heroic, about a dog, and now 51 fine examples have been collected in Good Dog: True Stories of Love, Loss, and Loyalty.

    The book's editor is David DiBenedetto, who is the editor of Garden & Gun magazine. Garden & Gun, based in Charleston, S.C., bills itself as "the soul of the South." A hybrid of lifestyle and literary magazines, it boasts a roster of such notable writers as Pat Conroy and Donna Tartt. ...

  2. Notable: stories for the season



    Stories for the season

    These books offer tales to warm any reader's holiday.

    A Christmas Memory (Knopf Books for Young Readers) by Truman Capote is a new edition of the classic memoir, first published in 1956; this one is enhanced by Beth Peck's watercolors and an audio CD narrated by Oscar winner Celeste Holm.

    The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry (Algonquin Paperbacks) by Gabrielle Zevin isn't exactly a Christmas story, though it begins at Christmastime — but its charming, magical tale of a bookseller's experience of loss and redemption makes it perfect for the season....

  3. Review: Three 'Hobbit' movies is one too many


    Back when director Peter Jackson announced that he would turn J.R.R. Tolkien's slim, swift children's novel The Hobbit into not one, not two but three movies, I and a lot of other Tolkien fans wondered whether the classic fantasy story would bear that much padding.

    Turns out we were right to wonder. The first film based on The Hobbit was charming fun, the second pretty good, too. But The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is one film too far, tedious and overlong and short on most of the elements that made the first two work....

    Believe it or not, there’s very little of Bilbo (Martin Freeman), the titular hobbit, in The Hobbit The Battle of the Five Armies. What there is plenty of: a battle that takes up only a chapter in the book but at least a third of the last movie.
  4. Notable: lives in music (Mick Fleetwood and more)



    Lives in music

    These life stories might hit the right note for music lovers on your gift list.

    Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own Story (Harper) by Rick Bragg is a barn-burning collaboration between one of the living legends of rock 'n' roll and one of the great contemporary Southern storytellers.

    Play On: Now, Then, and Fleetwood Mac (Little, Brown) by Mick Fleetwood with Anthony Bozza is a memoir by the band's drummer and leader of more than four decades, in which he tells his version of its raucous history and enduring music. ...

  5. Review: 'Pin Action' a nostalgic look at shady side of bowling


    When I was a little baby boomer back in the 1950s, bowling was a wholesome family sport. Several nights a week, my parents bowled in different leagues, wearing crisply ironed team shirts with their names stitched on the chests. Meanwhile, my brothers and I safely ran riot in the bowling alleys, cadging pretzels and coins for pinball and feeling as at home as we did in our living room.

    More recently, bowling has served as a theme in The Big Lebowski and had something of a renaissance as an ironic sport of hipsters. But Gianmarc Manzione's new book reveals a whole other side of the game — one teeming with gamblers and hustlers and explosions of violence, as well as the feats of amazing athletes....

    Former hustler-action bowler Ernie Schlegel celebrates his first Professional Bowlers Association title after a win against legendary action bowler Bo Burton Jr. in 1980. Schlegel eventually made it into the PBA and United States Bowling Congress halls of fame.
  6. Review: Dive into Lydia Millet's marvelous 'Mermaids in Paradise'


    When California couple Deb and Chip head for a Caribbean resort for their honeymoon, the most exotic creatures they expect to see are Middle Americans.

    As Deb, the smart and snarky narrator of Lydia Millet's terrific new novel Mermaids in Paradise, puts it, "Chip's a romantic when it comes to the people of the Midwest, and also those dwelling along the Rocky Mountain front, the landlocked parts of the South, things like the Dakota area or what have you. Those places are somewhat mythic to Chip." Not that the pair want to actually go there: "You don't have a Brentwood zip code and choose to spend your wedding vacation in Dayton." ...

  7. Notable: 21st century pope



    21st century pope

    Less than two years into his papacy, Pope Francis has become a world leader — and inspired many books.

    The Great Reformer: Francis and the Making of a Radical Pope (Henry Holt) by Austen Ivereigh is a biography that emphasizes Francis' charismatic leadership, engagement with the modern world and deep love for the poor.

    Lead With Humility: 12 Leadership Lessons From Pope Francis (AMACOM) by Jeffrey A. Krames may be the first management advice book based on the techniques a pope has used to renew a church....

  8. Events: Dave Easby to discuss 'They Tore Down the Russell Hotel'


    Book Talk

    Dave Easby (They Tore Down the Russell Hotel: A Story of Change in Small Town Mexico) will discuss and sign his book at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Oldsmar Public Library, 400 St. Petersburg Drive E.

    To place an item in Book Talk, send author's name, book title, appearance time, date, venue name and address, admission cost (if any) and a contact phone number to (with "Book Talk" in subject line) or Colette Bancroft, Tampa Bay Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. Deadline is 14 days before publication....

  9. Great gift books for particular passions


    Does someone on your holiday gift list have a grand passion, a subject he or she is utterly fascinated by?

    There's a book for that, no matter what the subject. Indeed, there is probably a large-format, richly illustrated book that will make the perfect present — although don't try to stuff most of these books in a stocking or they might crash right through the toe. Here are a few choices from this year's crop of gift books. Happy shopping!...

  10. Notable: Forever Sherlock



    Forever Sherlock

    While we impatiently await the next episodes of BBC's Sherlock, here are books to satisfy our interest in the Great Detective.

    The Adventure of the Plated Spoon and Other Tales of Sherlock Holmes (Tyrus Books), edited by Loren D. Estleman, gathers a Sherlock story by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, several by his contemporaries, including J.M. Barrie, and recent ones by authors such as Estleman and Laurie R. King....

  11. National Book Awards honor stories personal and political


    The 2014 National Book Awards, announced Wednesday night, honored a poet with a long and distinguished career, a fiction writer's first book, a deeply personal memoir of childhood and a work of nonfiction about the most populous nation on the planet.

    The most notable speech at the glitzy ceremony, though, was a broadside against the publishing industry delivered by the lifetime achievement winner....

  12. Notable: Literary lights



    Literary lights

    Treat yourself to one of these new books by three of the best fiction writers working today.

    Family Furnishings: Selected Stories, 1995-2014 (Knopf) by Alice Munro gathers 24 recent stories by the Nobel Prize winner and brilliant, quietly ruthless chronicler of domestic life, in a companion volume to her Selected Stories: 1968-1994. ...

  13. Review: Stephen King turns on an electrifying 'Revival'


    Jamie Morton is just a little boy the first time he meets the Rev. Charles Jacobs. Happily playing with his toy soldiers in the front yard of the Maine home of his large, affectionate family, Jamie is interrupted by a "human eclipse" when Jacobs suddenly appears in silhouette, his body a dark form blocking the sunshine.

    In Jamie's memory, "at that moment everything seemed to fall still" — a stillness that is the first sign of the horror to come in Stephen King's new novel, Revival. Some of King's books drop the pedal to the metal from the first page, but Revival takes another tack, building tension slowly and then accelerating into dread. It's no accident that story about how to boil a frog shows up in this book — at a point when it's too late for the reader to jump out of the pot....

  14. Notable: Funny people, funny memoirs



    Funny story

    New memoirs from three top comic performers bring the laughs.

    Choose Your Own Autobiography (Crown Archetype) by Neil Patrick Harris is the multitalented performer's clever, engaging interactive book that "puts the 'u' back in autobiography" by letting the reader choose different versions of Harris' life path.

    Food: A Love Story (Crown Archetype) by Jim Gaffigan is a sometimes rueful, always hilarious meditation on one of the standup comic and bestselling Dad Is Fat author's favorite subjects....

  15. Events: YA authors Greg Neri, Madeleine Kuderick at Inkwood


    Book Talk

    Local YA authors Greg Neri (Knockout Games) and Madeleine Kuderick (Kiss of Broken Glass) will discuss and sign their new novels at 7 p.m. Tuesday (Nov. 18) at Inkwood Books, 216 S Armenia Ave., Tampa.

    Viviane Thereau Hucker (Growing Up at Sea) will discuss and sign her memoir at 2 p.m. Wednesday (Nov. 19) at Dunedin Public Library, 223 Douglas Ave....