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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: Edith Pearlman gets deserved attention with 'Honeydew' collection

    Books

    Edith Pearlman is having a moment.

    At age 78, after publishing more than 200 short stories over five decades, most in small literary magazines, Pearlman is being recognized as one of the finest American writers of short fiction. Her new collection, Honeydew, will cement that burgeoning reputation.

    Pearlman, who has lived for most of her life in Massachusetts and for a time made her living as a computer programmer, had three collections of short stories published by small presses beginning in 1996, but those books never made a big splash. Then her exquisite 2011 collection, Binocular Vision, won the National Book Critics Circle Award, in addition to being a finalist for the National Book Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the Story Prize, and many more readers discovered her work....

  2. Notable: First-time novelists off to a good start

    Books

    Notable

    Off to a good start

    These three debut thrillers are getting their authors a lot of attention.

    Descent (Algonquin Books) by Tim Johnston is a beautifully written and gripping tale about a teenage girl who disappears during a family vacation in the Rockies and the psychological effects on the family devastated by her loss.

    The Girl on the Train (Riverhead) by Paula Hawkins is a Hitchcock-influenced, intensely suspenseful story of obsession about a young woman who sees something while on her daily commute that entangles her in a murder investigation....

  3. Events: Tess Gerritsen to sign latest Rizzoli and Isles thriller

    Books

    Book Talk

    Tess Gerritsen (Die Again), author of the bestselling Jane Rizzoli and Maura Isles series (basis of the TNT television series Rizzoli & Isles), will discuss and sign her book at 2 p.m. today at the Firehouse Cultural Center, First Avenue NE at Shell Point Road, Ruskin.

    The Florida Writers Circuit of the Florida Literary Arts Coalition presents novelist Larry Baker (The Education of Nancy Adams, Flamingo Rising) at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Plant Hall Grand Salon, University of Tampa, 401 W Kennedy Blvd., Tampa; at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Literature for Lunch Series in TECO Hall, Saint Leo University, 33701 State Road 52, St. Leo; and at 3:30 p.m. Thursday in the Grace Allen Reading Room, Main Library, University of South Florida, 4202 E Fowler Ave., Tampa....

  4. National Book Critics Circle names award finalists

    Books

    NEW YORK — The National Book Critics Circle has announced that it will present its 2015 Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award to novelist and cultural critic Toni Morrison.

    The NBCC board met last weekend in the first round of its annual awards process, naming 30 books as finalists in six categories. The 24 board members, myself included, also selected the recipients of three other awards. The NBCC, founded in 1974 at the Algonquin Hotel and currently boasting about 700 members, is the only American organization made up entirely of book critics that presents book awards. ...

    Novelist and cultural critic Toni Morrison has been internationally recognized for her fiction — she has received the Nobel, the Pulitzer and a long list of other prizes.
  5. Review: It's love and bullets for Serge Storms in 'Shark Skin Suite'

    Books

    Serge Storms in love?

    Fans of Tim Dorsey's series about avid Florida history buff and ingenious serial killer Serge have seen him in lust plenty of times, but his romantic attachments, like his attention span, tend to be short.

    But as Shark Skin Suite, the 18th book in the series, opens, Serge is still enamored of the damsel in distress he rescued (and who rescued him in turn) in the last book, Tiger Shrimp Tango. "They weren't just an odd couple," Dorsey writes, "but a freak pairing of nature, like those Internet photos of a mouse that thinks a cat's its mom. Serge was criminally insane, Brook was Norman Rockwell territory."...

  6. Notable: Memoirs about making new lives

    Books

    Notable

    Making new lives

    Three new memoirs recount how their authors overcame mental and emotional obstacles.

    The Man Who Couldn't Stop: OCD and the True Story of a Life Lost in Thought (Sarah Crichton Books / Farrar Straus & Giroux) by David Adam, an accomplished science writer, details his own struggles with obsessive-compulsive disorder and examines its history and current research....

  7. Events: National Book Award winner Kathryn Erskine in Sarasota

    Books

    Book Talk

    Poets Jason Dean Arnold (Unrecognizable Beauty), Patricia Averbach (Missing Persons) and Debra Gingerich (Where We Start) will read their work at 2 p.m. today at Bookstore1Sarasota, 1359 Main St., Sarasota.

    Eckerd College's Writers in Paradise conference presents free readings by its featured authors. All readings begin at 8 p.m., preceded by a wine and cheese reception at 7:30 and followed by author signings. Books will be available for purchase. All events take place in Miller Auditorium, Eckerd College, 4200 54th Ave. S, St. Petersburg. The readings are open to the public. For information, call (727) 864-7994. ...

  8. Interview: How Jess Walter became a bestselling author

    Books

    Bestselling novelist Jess Walter is looking forward to spending a few days at the Writers in Paradise conference at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg this month.

    "It's so energizing to be around other writers. It's like renewing your vows," he says.

    "Writers kind of spend a lot of time around civilians. People might love to read, but they don't know what it's like to spend seven hours a day in a room by yourself."...

    Sterling Watson (Suitcase City)
  9. Events: Dick Burdette to discuss book about Dick Cloud murder

    Books

    Book Talk

    The Friends of the Library of Tampa-Hillsborough County's Four Seasons Author Series presents journalist and author Dick Burdette speaking about his book The Last Lonely Eagle: The Untold, Inside Story of the 1975 Dick Cloud Murder, the true story of a Tampa Police Department vice detective who died in a contract hit. The luncheon event will be at noon Friday at the University Club, 1 Tampa City Center, Tampa. Tickets cost $30; reservations are required. fourseasonsluncheon@gmail.com or (813) 273-3616....

  10. Notable: new crime fiction

    Books

    Notable

    New crime

    January always brings a fresh crop of crime fiction; here are three books with intriguing twists.

    The Bishop's Wife (Soho Crime) by Mette Ivie Harrison finds the title character, who is married to a Mormon bishop, delving into the mysterious disappearance of a young woman. The story is based on a real crime.

    A Pleasure and a Calling (Picador) by Phil Hogan is a psychological thriller about Mr. Heming, a real estate agent in an English village who happens to keep a key to every house he sells — including the one where a body turns up. ...

  11. Review: Thorn is unstoppable in James W. Hall's thriller 'Big Finish'

    Books

    The Big Finish, the 14th novel by James W. Hall about reclusive Florida knight-errant Thorn, is a wonderfully relentless high-octane thriller. But let me warn you: It will put you off your pork chops.

    Two books back, in Dead Last, Thorn discovered (much to his surprise) that he had a pair of sons, adult twins conceived during a brief fling decades before.

    In the last book, Going Dark, Thorn discovered that one of them, Flynn Moss, had become involved with a group of radical environmentalists called Earth Liberation Front. When their plan to shut down the nuclear plant at Turkey Point went awry, it was up to Thorn to rescue not only Flynn but a big chunk of the population of South Florida from a possible meltdown....

    Author James W. Hall
  12. Events: University of Tampa's Lectores series continues

    Books

    Book Talk

    The University of Tampa's Lectores series of free readings continues this week. All events begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Reeves Theater on the university campus, 401 W Kennedy Blvd., Tampa. For more information, go to ut.edu/mfacw/lectores.

    Monday: Nonfiction writer Steve Almond (Against Football: One Fan's Reluctant Manifesto) and poet Stephen Burt (Belmont)...

  13. Notable: Lives of the artists

    Books

    Notable

    Lives of the artists

    Three new novels imagine real-life painters, musicians and writers through fiction.

    Driving the King (Harper) by Ravi Howard recounts the relationship between singer Nat King Cole and his boyhood friend Nat Weary in a story that ranges from Jim Crow Montgomery, Ala., to glamorous Hollywood in the 1950s.

    The Season of Migration (Farrar Straus & Giroux) by Nellie Hermann is a wrenching but lyrical imagining of the early life of the painter Vincent van Gogh, his complex relationship with his brother, Theo, and his birth as an artist....

  14. UT's Lectores series readings include Roxane Gay, Richard Bausch and more

    Books

    When the University of Tampa founded its low-residency program for a master's of fine arts in creative writing a few years back, it included a component to connect writers with the Tampa Bay community.

    The Lectores series is named for the Ybor City tradition of having readers in cigar factories who read aloud — everything from Shakespeare to the day's news — to the workers as they rolled stogies. ...

    Time magazine referred to ’14 as “the year of Roxane Gay.”
  15. Improbably, Pynchon's 'Inherent Vice' translates well to the screen

    Books

    As an ardent Thomas Pynchon fan of 40 years' standing, I never thought of his novels as filmable.

    The very things I love about them — Pynchon's polymathic knowledge about an astounding number of topics, his vastly intricate plots, his enormous casts of characters, his protean but unmistakable authorial voice — make the notion of whittling them down to a two-hour visual translation pretty much laughable. Of course, any time a novel becomes a film, huge chunks of it go missing. But in the case of Pynchon's dense and complex works, a director would be lucky to get 1 percent on screen....

    Joaquin Phoenix masterfully portrays private eye and pothead Doc Sportello in Inherent Vice, set amid hippie culture, on the cusp of the 1960s and 1970s.