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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. Book events: Victorian Christmas Event, Cheryl Hollon launch party


    Book Talk

    Cheryl Hollon (Etched in Tears) will appear at a launch party for the new book in her Webb's Glass Shop Mystery series at 2 p.m. Dec. 10 at Books at Park Place, 10468 Roosevelt Blvd. N, St. Petersburg.

    William Valentine (Cuban Charade) will sign his new thriller at 2 p.m. Dec. 10 at Haslam's Book Store, 2025 Central Ave., St. Petersburg.

    Books at Park Place will host a Victorian Christmas Event with several bestselling authors, including Elise Kova (Rebels of Gold) and C. L. Wilson (The Sea King), as well as costumed members of the Tampabay Steampunk Society, from 6 to 8 p.m. Dec. 13 at the store, 10468 Roosevelt Blvd. N, St. Petersburg....

  2. For gift books this holiday season, think classic


    The gift book is a holiday tradition, but what's significant enough to merit a space on your recipient's coffee table?

    Classics. Look for a book that captures people, places or things we see as enduring, indispensable, iconic: unforgettable photographs, astonishing architecture, an utterly unique musician, a hugely influential television show, a most magical children's story — and shoes....

  3. With Trump slashing national monuments, here are three books to read


    With President Donald Trump's decision to slash the acreage of two national monuments in the news, here are three classic books about our system of national parks, monuments and other protected lands.

    Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness (Harper Perennial) by Edward Abbey is the 1968 masterpiece of the lion of American environmental writers. Abbey's lyrical account of his time as a park ranger at Arches National Monument in Utah and other travels in the Southwest rings with his passion for the natural world and anger at those who pointlessly despoil it....

  4. St. Petersburg gets its own Mini Doughnut Factory


    The Mini Doughnut Factory has gone uptown.

    That's St. Petersburg's Historic Uptown neighborhood, where the second location of the Tampa-based chain opened Monday. The original, at 2109 S Dale Mabry Highway, was opened in 2015 by Patrick and Zezura Ruddell. According to its website, it has sold 1.2 million doughnuts.

    The new store at 730 Fourth St. N is easy to spot, thanks to the mural on its south wall of happy people enjoying doughnuts, painted by Tony Krol and Michelle Sawyer of Illsol Gallery in Tampa. The store's pale gray, industrial-style interior has big windows and seating for a few dozen at tall tables and counters....

  5. Notable: Histories to savor



    Histories to savor

    In this season of eating, here are three fascinating (and giftable) books about the history of food.

    The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African American Culinary History in the Old South (Amistad) by Michael Twitty is a culinary historian's journey into his own past as well as that of Southern food, which might be the strongest bridge between races. ...

  6. Review: Sam Shepard's 'Spy of the First Person' a moving farewell


    Few deaths are kind, I think, but Sam Shepard's seemed almost theatrically cruel.

    A brilliant playwright, author, actor, director and screenwriter, Shepard died in July, at age 73, of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehrig's disease.

    For a man whose life was an embodiment of the power of words, dying of a disease that steals its victims' ability to speak and write sounds like tragedy....

    Sam Shepard, pictured in 2016, won a record-setting 10 Obie Awards for writing and directing between 1966 and 1984, and Buried Child won the Pulitzer in 1979 and was nominated for five Tonys.
  7. Louise Erdrich's 'Future Home of the Living God' a dystopian thriller about evolutionary breakdown


    For many pregnant women, a first sonogram is a thrilling revelation.

    For Cedar Songmaker, the narrator of Louise Erdrich's new novel Future Home of the Living God, it's a moment of foreboding.

    "At first there is only the gray uterine blur," Cedar tells us, "and then suddenly the screen goes charcoal and out of the murk your hand wavers. ... There is something about your hand, just a feeling, and I am upset for a moment. Just a hand — but a sense of clarity and power."...

  8. How 'A Christmas Carol' was born


    Charles Dickens' best-known and most beloved book almost didn't happen.

    In 1843, Dickens, then 31, was already dealing with the downside of international success. He had followed bestsellers like Oliver Twist with several flops and was struggling to support a large family and break through writer's block.

    When he came up with the idea of a ghost-story novella about Christmas, then a minor holiday, his publishers said, in effect, "Humbug."...

    NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 12:  Author Les Standiford (L) and screenwriter Susan Coyne attend "The Man Who Invented Christmas" New York screening at Florence Gould Hall on November 12, 2017 in New York City.  (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)
  9. American wines red, white and sparkling for your Thanksgiving table

    Bars & Spirits

    You've dusted off Grandma's good crystal for the Thanksgiving table. Or you've pulled out all your mismatched stems to have enough for every place.

    Now what to pour?

    For this most American meal, based on foods native to America — turkey, pumpkin, corn, potatoes white and sweet — an American wine seems the natural choice.

    But white, red or sparkling? With a table so full of so many delicious things, any of them could work. Here are some suggestions....

  10. Events: Tampa historians to sign books at hurricane relief benefit


    Book Talk

    Nancy Christie (Rut-Busting Book for Writers) will sign her book at 11 a.m. Nov. 20 at 321 Books, 6901 22nd Ave. N, St. Petersburg.

    John Cinchett (Vintage Tampa Storefronts and Scenes), Rex Gordon (History of Hillsborough High School), Linda Hope (A Sulphur Springs History), Josh McMorrow-Hernandez (Tampa's Carrollwood) and Michael Wigh (Brandon Florida Images in Time) will sell and sign their books, with proceeds benefiting hurricane relief in Florida and Puerto Rico, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 25 at Book Swap of Carrollwood, 11738 N Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa....

  11. Review: George Saunders' 'Sea Oak' makes a dead-funny TV comedy


    Recently, George Saunders won the Man Booker Prize, one of the world's most prestigious literary awards.

    And now he has a TV show about zombies!

    Saunders, one of America's best writers of fiction, won the 2017 Booker for his splendid novel Lincoln in the Bardo, which is narrated largely by a chorus of ghosts.

    That wasn't the first time he has explored what might lie beyond the veil in his fiction. In 1998, the New Yorker published a Saunders short story, Sea Oak, about post-death dissatisfaction....

    Glenn Close stars as Bernie in the pilot for Amazon TV’s Sea Oak, which is being streamed through Nov. 30.
  12. Jennifer Egan on how 9/11 led her to WWII and 'Manhattan Beach'


    Jennifer Egan has a gift for surprising readers — and herself.

    "If I knew what would happen in a book," she says, "I wouldn't want to write it."

    What happens in her new novel, Manhattan Beach, is a surprise on many levels. It's an enthralling story about a young woman, Anna Kerrigan, working in the Brooklyn Navy Yard during World War II, whose life takes many unexpected turns....

    Longtime New York resident Jennifer Egan’s Manhattan Beach is set in part at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, pictured in the background.
  13. Events: Ben Montgomery to speak at Mirror Lake Library


    Book Talk

    Friends of the Mirror Lake Library presents former Tampa Bay Times writer Ben Montgomery (The Leper Spy) discussing and signing his book at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 13 at the library, 280 Fifth St. N, St. Petersburg.

    Seminole Historical Society and Museum presents Andrew Carroll (The War Letters Project) discussing and signing his book at 7 p.m. Nov. 16 at the museum, Seminole City Park, 7464 Ridge Road, Seminole. ...

  14. Tamara Lush talks about publishing romance novels serially, like 'Constant Craving'


    Tamara Lush calls her romance novels, published via app in weekly installments, "snack size reading" for your smartphone. Seung Yoon Lee, founder and CEO of Radish Fiction, calls his mobile platform for books like hers "Candy Crush meets serial fiction."

    Lush and Lee will appear at the Tampa Bay Times Festival of Reading on Saturday to talk about this new paradigm in publishing.

    Lush's new novel, Constant Craving, is different from many romances in that it's set in the world of journalism. The female narrator owns a struggling newspaper, and, despite their difficult past, an ex-love offers to save it financially. "That's the most fantastical part," the author says with a laugh....

    Author Tamara Lush
  15. Review: 'The Year of Magical Thinking' at Stageworks


    At the beginning of The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion acknowledges that the audience might not want to hear her story because we don't think it could happen to us.

    "It will happen to you," Didion says with a rueful smile, and of course she's right.

    That's Didion the character, movingly played by Vickie Daignault in Stageworks' production of the play, written by the real Joan Didion, acclaimed novelist and journalist, and based on her bestselling 2005 memoir of the same title....

    Stageworks Theatre’s stage version of The Year of Magical Thinking stars Vickie Daignault as Joan Didion.
Courtesy of Stageworks