Make us your home page

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. Looking back: memorable books of 2014


    I reviewed a lot of wonderful books this year, enough that it's tough to choose just a few. But here are 10 that stayed with me. — Colette Bancroft, Times book editor

    The Black-Eyed Blonde by Benjamin Black

    Wayfaring Stranger by James Lee Burke

    Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant: A Memoir by Roz Chast

    The Burning Room by Michael Connelly...

  2. Start your 2015 reading list now


    Finish up those 2014 books, folks. A whole new crop of great reads is about to arrive.

    From new novels by literary superstars to sequels to bestsellers, from intriguing memoirs to historical fiction, there are plenty of titles to add to your preorder list.

    What you see below is just a tiny fraction of upcoming books, of course. If 2015 is anything like this year, more than a quarter of a million new titles will be published in the next 12 months....

  3. Notable: movies in print



    Movies in print

    All in paperback: a memoir that's the source for one new movie, the screenplay of another, and the novel a classic film was based on.

    Big Eyes (Vintage) by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski is the screenplay, illustrated with photos, for Tim Burton's new biopic about artists Walter and Margaret Keane.

    Forrest Gump (Vintage) by Winston Groom is the 20th anniversary edition of the bestseller that begat an Oscar-winning movie about the lovable title character's run though American history....

  4. 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. ...

  5. 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....

  6. 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....

    Among the movie’s problems: character inconsistencies. Legolas’ father, elf king Thranduil (Lee Pace), is his usual snotty, superior self throughout most of the movie, then turns up near the end dispensing gems of comforting wisdom like some elven dalai lama.
  7. 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. ...

  8. 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....

  9. 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." ...

  10. 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....

  11. 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....

  12. 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!...

  13. 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....

  14. 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....

  15. 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. ...