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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: Jobsite's 'Annapurna' an unsettling, witty story of love and death

    Stage

    In the opening scene of Annapurna, when Emma turns up to visit her ex-husband after 20 years, we can tell he's not expecting her. Ulysses' outfit consists of a backpack oxygen tank, a pair of duct-tape slippers and an apron. Period.

    Emma gets a full-moon view (as does the audience). When she implores him to put on some pants, he just growls, "You're lucky you caught me frying sausage." He's learned the hard way, he says, about hot grease....

    Angela Bond, left, plays Emma and Paul Potenza is Ulysses, a once-married couple who meet again after 20 years,  in Jobsite Theater’s production of Annapurna, written by Sharr White.
  2. Review: Kate Atkinson's 'A God in Ruins' an enthralling read

    Books

    English writer Kate Atkinson's 2013 book Life After Life is one of the most dazzling novels I've read in the last decade, a virtuoso performance on every level — plot, character, language, structure and more.

    Her new novel, A God in Ruins, is not exactly a sequel to Life After Life; she calls it a "companion piece" in her excellent author's note. But whatever you call the book, it's another rich and enthralling read....

  3. Notable: celebrity moms

    Books

    Notable

    Celebrity moms

    Shopping for a Mother's Day gift? Here are two memoirs and a biography Mom might enjoy.

    Born With Teeth (Little, Brown) by Kate Mulgrew, Orange Is the New Black's Red and Star Trek: Voyager's Captain Janeway, is the actor's engaging account of her career success, the pain of giving up a daughter for adoption — and the joy of finding her 20 years later. ...

  4. Events: Lisa Unger to speak at Manatee County Public Library benefit

    Books

    Book Talk

    Bestselling Clearwater author Lisa Unger (Crazy Love You) will speak in the Arts and Lecture Series benefiting the Manatee County Public Library at 6 p.m. May 4 at the Manatee Performing Arts Center, 502 Third Ave. W, Bradenton. Tickets are $35 at (941) 748-5875 or manateeperformingartscenter.com.

    Tommy Greenwald (Katie Friedman Gives Up Texting! And Lives to Tell About It), author of the Charlie Joe Jackson children's books, will appear to kick off Children's Book Week at 6:30 p.m. May 4 at Inkwood Books, 216 S Armenia Ave., Tampa....

  5. 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....

  6. 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....

  7. 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....

  8. 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.
  9. 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. ...

    Heavy rain on lake surface during thunderstorm
  10. 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. ...

  11. 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....

  12. 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....

  13. 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.
  14. 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. ...

  15. 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 Mad Men cast includes, from left, January Jones as Betty Francis, Jon Hamm as Don Draper, Elisabeth Moss as Peggy Olson, Vincent Kartheiser as Pete Campbell, Christina Hendricks as Joan Harris and John Slattery as Roger Sterling. The critically acclaimed show premiered on July 19, 2007.