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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: Ladee Hubbard's 'The Talented Ribkins' finds heroes in Florida

    Books

    Not every superhero hails from the Marvel or DC universes.

    In Ladee Hubbard's debut novel, The Talented Ribkins, they live quietly in towns and cities around Florida — a judge's widow in Sarasota, a teacher in Gainesville, a businessman in Tallahassee, an antiques dealer in St. Augustine. The last of those is Johnny Ribkins, the book's main character.

    Once upon a time, back in the 1960s, Johnny and several of his relatives and friends, all of them African-American, were members of what they called the Justice Committee. Each of the five had an unusual power, and they came together to use those powers for good — aiding the civil rights movement. They didn't wear spandex costumes or fly through the air; they stayed in the background and acted anonymously. As Johnny says, the Justice Committee was not so much a band of flashy superheroes as "a group of people trying to do what they could to keep their heroes safe."...

  2. Events: Photographer Henthorne to present book at Oxford Exchange

    Books

    Book Talk

    Photographer Henthorne (Between Worlds) will give a multimedia presentation and sign his book about ocean conservation at 1 p.m. Aug. 20 at Oxford Exchange, 420 W Kennedy Blvd., Tampa.

    Applications are available at tampabay.com/expos/festival-of-reading for vendors and volunteers for the 2017 Tampa Bay Times Festival of Reading, which will take place Nov. 11 at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. Author applications are now closed....

  3. Books pay tribute to Princess Diana 20 years after her death

    Books

    Untold millions of words have been written about Princess Diana, so it's inevitable that more would be printed to commemorate the 20th anniversary of her death. Perhaps the most revealing new book, Diana and Dodi: The Truth by Michael Cole, was set to be published in the United Kingdom Aug. 31, but Dodi Al Fayed's powerful father intervened to prevent it.

    CANDLE IN THE WIND: Perfect song at a tragic moment ...

  4. Events: Guy Cote to be featured at East Lake Community Library's Authors Showcase

    Books

    Book Talk

    East Lake Community Library's Authors Showcase will feature author Guy Cote (Long Live the King: Book One of the Charlemagne Saga) at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 15 at the library, 4125 East Lake Road, Palm Harbor.

    Applications are available at tampabay.com/expos/festival-of-reading for vendors and volunteers for the 2017 Tampa Bay Times Festival of Reading, which will take place Nov. 11 at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. Author applications are now closed....

  5. Padgett Powell to speak, sign books at Oxford Exchange in Tampa on Aug. 13

    Books

    When Padgett Powell speaks, readers listen.

    Voice has always been the hallmark of Powell's fiction; he's a modern master of first-person narrative. In books like The Interrogative Mood — composed entirely of questions directed at the reader — and You & Me, a Samuel Beckett-in-Dixie dialogue, he creates whole worlds out of the voices of characters.

    That's been true ever since his first novel, Edisto, which was a finalist for the National Book Award in 1984. Now Catapult Press has published a handsome new edition of Edisto, with an introduction by Roy Blount Jr., and Powell will bring his own distinctive voice to Tampa to talk about it. He'll appear Aug. 13 for a discussion and signing at the Oxford Exchange....

    Padgett Powell, 65, has been on the faculty of the creative writing program of the University of Florida since 1984.
  6. Notable: In the time of Trump

    Books

    Notable

    In the time of Trump

    We don't know what's on President Donald Trump's vacation reading list, but here are new books about him.

    Conscience of a Conservative: A Rejection of Destructive Politics and a Return to Principle (Random House) by Jeff Flake is the staunchly conservative Arizona senator's argument against his party's embrace of Trump's nationalism, populism and xenophobia....

  7. Wine of the week: Milou Chardonnay 2015

    Bars & Spirits

    My crush on unoaked chardonnays continues with a French take on this summery, fruit-forward wine.

    Milou Chardonnay 2015 is made from 100 percent chardonnay grapes, grown in vineyards in the Languedoc, surrounding the village of Sommieres. The wine is aged in stainless steel tanks to preserve its fresh taste, the bottle (priced at about $12 at wine-savvy markets) wrapped in a chic art deco label....

  8. Review: Sue Grafton's 'Y Is for Yesterday' a skillful next-to-last hurrah

    Books

    When Sue Grafton published A Is for Alibi back in 1982, she didn't really anticipate that 35 years later she'd be closing in on the end of the alphabet with Y Is for Yesterday.

    "I was cheeky enough to snag the alphabet," Grafton told me in a 2015 interview. "I had high hopes and no expectations, so it's all been a jolly surprise."

    It has been a satisfying ride for her many readers as well — Grafton's novels about California private investigator Kinsey Millhone have regularly landed on bestseller lists. The lively, engrossing Y Is for Yesterday demonstrates that she hasn't lost her touch over the years....

  9. Horror is all too real in Stephen King's 'Mr. Mercedes' TV show

    The Feed

    Maybe you're a Stephen King fan who was disappointed by the film version of The Dark Tower and need an antidote. Or maybe you're a fan who loved it and can't wait for more from the horror-fantasy master.

    Either way, you're in luck. The new movie version of It hits theaters Sept. 8, and King's 57th novel, Sleeping Beauties, co-written with his son Owen King, publishes Sept. 26. ...

     Brendan Gleeson plays retired detective Bill Hodges in Mr. Mercedes, the Audience Network TV series based on Stephen King's novel.
  10. Events: Danny Lopez to sign 'The Last Girl' in Sarasota

    Books

    Book Talk

    Danny Lopez (The Last Girl) will discuss and sign his thriller at a book launch at 5:30 p.m. Aug. 7 at Bookstore1Sarasota, 12 S Palm Ave., Sarasota.

    Wendy Walker (Emma in the Night) will discuss her new novel with local bestselling thriller author Lisa Unger (The Red Hunter) at 7 p.m. Aug. 11 at Inkwood Books, 216 S Aremnia Ave., Tampa....

  11. A look back at the storied career of New York Times book critic Michiko Kakutani

    Books

    It's not often that the comings and goings of book critics make news. But when Michiko Kakutani decided to retire from the New York Times in July, Vanity Fair broke the story breathlessly online, calling her "the most feared woman in publishing."

    During her 34 years as a book critic for the Times, Kakutani was indeed influential, and often controversial. She won the Pulitzer Prize for criticism in 1998 and is credited with helping to make the careers of such writers as Mary Karr, George Saunders, Zadie Smith and David Foster Wallace with glowing reviews....

    After 34 years, New York Times book critic Michiko Kakutani, who drew praise and protest, steps down.
  12. Review: Schmidt's 'See What I Have Done' a haunting novel about Lizzie Borden

    Books

    By the time I got halfway through See What I Have Done, I was totally in the mood to take an ax to somebody — and I mean that as a compliment.

    Sarah Schmidt's debut novel is a terrifically dread-inducing, claustrophobic, nightmarish immersion in a fictional version of one of the most famous crimes in American history. It's known as the Lizzie Borden case, even though Lizzie was acquitted of the murders of her father, Andrew Borden, and stepmother Abby by an all-male jury whose members declared they didn't believe a woman could commit such a crime....

  13. Review: Sherman Alexie's 'You Don't Have to Say You Love Me' a moving mother-son memoir

    Books

    Grief has no timetable and abides by no map or pattern. Nor, despite the efforts of the most skilled storytellers, does it surrender to our narratives about it.

    In You Don't Have to Say You Love Me: A Memoir, novelist and poet Sherman Alexie wrestles mightily with his grief and produces a beautiful book, a memorial to his mother pieced together in poetry and prose, laughter and rage and heartbreak. But that doesn't lead to what the emotionally callow like to call "closure."...

    LOVEIS WISE   |   Special to the Times
  14. Events: Gabe Hudson, Matthew Klam to speak at Oxford Exchange

    Books

    Book Talk

    The Oxford Exchange's Spotlight Series presents novelists Gabe Hudson (Gork, the Teenage Dragon) and Matthew Klam (Who Is Rich?) discussing and signing their books at 1 p.m. July 30 at the Oxford Exchange, 420 W Kennedy Blvd., Tampa.

    Friends of the Clearwater Library presents a Day of Literature with children's author Gloria Moranski (Sneaky Sneakers) at noon Aug. 5, Doug Kelly (Florida's Fishing Legends & Pioneers) at 6 p.m. and other activities throughout the day at Barnes & Noble Clearwater, 23654 US 19 N....

  15. Review: Get under the covers with Tom Perrotta's 'Mrs. Fletcher'

    Books

    If Tom Perrotta's new novel, Mrs. Fletcher, had a moral, it might be this: Thinking you can learn how to have a great sex life by watching porn is like thinking you can learn to be a great driver by playing Grand Theft Auto.

    Perrotta, one of our best suburban satirists, likes to put seemingly ordinary people into unusual circumstances and show us what might happen. Two of his novels, Election and Little Children, have become Oscar-nominated movies, and his book The Leftovers was the basis for the Peabody Award-winning HBO series....