segunda-feira, 31 de outubro de 2011

MARIO BENEDETTI

sexta-feira, 28 de outubro de 2011

American Girl performed by Tom Petty

terça-feira, 25 de outubro de 2011

katie Melua - Crawling Up a Hill

The Police - Every Breath You Take (With Lyrics)

The Who - Behind Blue Eyes (Original Version)

whitney houston - I will always love you

domingo, 23 de outubro de 2011

Tom Petty - American Girl

domingo, 16 de outubro de 2011

The Complete Stories of Truman Capote (Vintage International)


The Complete Stories of Truman Capote (Vintage International)

     Most readers know Truman Capote as the author of Breakfast at Tiffany’s and In Cold Blood; or they remember his notorious social life and wild and witty public appearances. But he was also the author of superb short tales that were as elegant as they were heartfelt, as grotesque as they were compassionate. Now, on the occasion of what would have been his eightieth birthday, the Modern Library presents the first collection that includes all of Capote’s short fiction–a volume that confirms his status as one of the masters of this form.
     Among the selections are “A Tree of Night,” in which an innocent student, sitting on a train beside a slatternly woman and her deaf-mute companion, enters a seductive nightmare that brings back the deepest fears of childhood . . . “House of Flowers,” the inspiration for a celebrated Broadway musical, which tells of a superstitious prostitute who learns to love in a way no one else can ever understand . . . the holiday perennial “A Christmas Memory,” famously adapted into a superb made-for-TV movie . . . and “The Bargain,” Capote’s melancholy, never-before-published 1950 story about a suburban housewife’s shifting fortunes.
From the gothic South to the chic East Coast, from rural children to aging urban sophisticates, all the unforgettable places and people of Capote’s oeuvre are captured in this first-ever compendium. The Collected Stories of Truman Capote should restore its author to a place above mere celebrity, to the highest levels of American letters.

Quotes - The Complete Stories of Truman Capote
"He’d always been willing to confess his faults, for, by admitting them, it was as if he made them no longer exist."
"Here is a hall without exit, a tunnel without end."
"In the country, spring is a time of small happenings happening quietly, hyacinth shoots thrusting in a garden, willows burning with a sudden frosty fire of green, lengthening afternoons of long flowing dusk, and midnight rain opening lilac; but in the city there is the fanfare of organ-grinders, and odors, undiluted by winter wind, clog the air; windows long closed go up, and conversation, drifting beyond a room, collides with the jangle of a peddler's bell."
Review
Most readers know Truman Capote as the author of Breakfast at Tiffany's and In Cold Blood; or they remember his notorious social life and wild and witty public appearances. But he was also the author of superb short tales that were as elegant as they were heartfelt, as grotesque as they were compassionate. Now, on the occasion of what would have been his eightieth birthday, Random House presents the first collection that includes all of Capote's short fiction - a volume that confirms his status as one of the masters of this form.
      Kathy Hines said: “Ok so when I first read a Truman Capote story it was my first year of college in 1989 and it was that "Christmas Memory" story and after we read that story as a class, we then wrote a paper detailing some memory/experience. That story triggered me writing about finding and reading my dad's letters that he had written home while he was in Vietnam, which was a very rewarding experience for me so I was excited to read this collection of his other stories. When I read the first story (wr...moreOk so when I first read a Truman Capote story it was my first year of college in 1989 and it was that "Christmas Memory" story and after we read that story as a class, we then wrote a paper detailing some memory/experience. That story triggered me writing about finding and reading my dad's letters that he had written home while he was in Vietnam, which was a very rewarding experience for me so I was excited to read this collection of his other stories. When I read the first story (written in 1940's), I thought, maybe this was how he wrote when he first started out, because it vaguely reminded me of Capote's style, but was not as sentimental at all... Really, none of the other stories evoked that emotion in me excpet for maybe "The Thanksgiving Visitor" and "One Christmas"; the rest seemed to end to quickly and even repeat plots (mink stoles getting sold show up in two of the stories...). I would not recommed this except to read the "Christmas Memory", "One Christmas" and "The Thanksgiving Visitor", skipping the rest “.
       Joel Simon, said: Truman Capote"s short stories are thoroughly enjoyable. This is the first time I have ever read the entire set of any author's short stories. It gave me a real appreciation of how an author becomes better as he/she gets more experienced. Of course the great thing about a collection of short stories is that you can dip into it for as long or as short a time as you like without feeling like you have lost track of the plot. And when there's not a bad story in the bunch, you enjoy it every ...moreTruman Capote"s short stories are thoroughly enjoyable. This is the first time I have ever read the entire set of any author's short stories. It gave me a real appreciation of how an author becomes better as he/she gets more experienced. Of course the great thing about a collection of short stories is that you can dip into it for as long or as short a time as you like without feeling like you have lost track of the plot. And when there's not a bad story in the bunch, you enjoy it every time you pick it back up. Capote's writing style is excellent. I can't say that his stories are very exciting, but they are interesting, they have an edge to them and the characters are surprisingly deep considering how few pages are used for their development. The writer of the introduction hits it on the head when he says that these short stories have been underappreciated (particularly when compared to the blockbuster stardom created by Capote's "In Cold Blood") and that it is a shame that there are not more stories to enjoy. My favorites were Jug of Silver, Miriam, Children on Their Birthdays, Master Misery, Among the Paths to Eden, Mojave and One Christmas. I recommend this book to people who like to think about a story long after they've read it.

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2281.The_Complete_Stories_of_Truman_Capote

Breakfast at Tiffany's, by Truman Capote

Breakfast at Tiffany's, by Truman Capote

This volume includes three of Capote's best-known stories, "House of Flowers," "A Diamond Guitar," and "A Christmas Memory," in addition to his bestselling novel, Breakfast at Tiffany, the popular story of Holly Golightly--"a cross between Lolita and Auntie Mame" (Time).


Quotes from Breakfast at Tiffany's
 "Never love a wild thing, Mr. Bell,' Holly advised him. 'That was Doc's mistake. He was always lugging home wild things. A hawk with a hurt wing. One time it was a full-grown bobcat with a broken leg. But you can't give your heart to a wild thing: the more you do, the stronger they get. Until they're strong enough to run into the woods. Or fly into a tree. Then a taller tree. Then the sky. That's how you'll end up, Mr. Bell. If you let yourself love a wild thing. You'll end up looking at the sky."
"It may be normal, darling; but I'd rather be natural."
 "It may be normal, darling; but I'd rather be natural."
"The answer is good things only happen to you if you're good. Good? Honest is more what I mean... Be anything but a coward, a pretender, an emotional crook, a whore: I'd rather have cancer than a dishonet heart. "
"I don't want to own anything until I find a place where me and things go together."
"She was still hugging the cat. "Poor slob," she said, tickling his head, "poor slob without a name. It's a little inconvenient, his not having a name. But I haven't any right to give him one: he'll have to wait until he belongs to somebody. We just sort of took up by the river one day, we don't belong to each other: he's an independent, and so am I. I don't want to own anything until I know I've found the place where me and things belong together. I'm not quite sure where that is just yet. But I know what it's like." She smiled, and let the cat drop to the floor. "It's like Tiffany's," she said.
It calms me down right away, the quietness and the proud look of it; nothing very bad could happen to you there, not with those kind men in their nice suits, and that lovely smell of silver and alligator wallets. If I could find a real-life place that made me feel like Tiffany's, then I'd buy some furniture and give the cat a name."
"Aprils have never meant much to me, autumns seem that season of beginning, spring."
"It’s better to look at the sky than live there"
"would you reach in the drawer there and give me my purse. A girl doesn't read this sort of thing without her lipstick."
"I loved her enough to forget myself, my self pitying despairs, and be content that something she thought happy was going to happen."

Review
     Holiday Golightly. She’s quirky, comical, and glamorous. She’s fashionable, in-the-know, and in-the-now. She’s lonely, lost, and waiting to be rescued. You couldn’t resist her charm if you tried, and you can’t help but fall in love with her.
      Well, at least in the Hollywood film version. Capote’s original novella paints a darker portrait of Miss Golightly. Unlike Audrey Hepburn’s adorable Holly, who needs a knight in slightly-rusted armor to save her, Capote’s girl is a “wild thing” who cannot be caged, trained, or rescued.
I can’t deny that the film is a classic and is one of my favorites. Audrey Hepburn may be the epitome of glamour and beauty, and Hollywood’s Holly can’t help but absorb Audrey’s charm. By the end of the film you find yourself rooting for “Fred” to save her from the nonsense of high society, reunite her with the cat, and wipe away her case of “the mean reds” forever. That is Hollywood, after all, and we would expect nothing less.
      But the real Holly, Capote’s Holly, can never be caged by convention. It would be hard to imagine her ever settling down and being content with Fred (regardless of the fact that he is an implied homosexual in the book. Hollywood seemed to have “overlooked” that).
      Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that the book’s Holly is a Bad Person; she’s just more layered and real.    Think about it – how many people have you come across who create a new persona for themselves, based on what they perceive others to desire? People who feign interest in the popular styles/entertainment/notable people of the day, just to seem like a Very Important Person and garner adoration, fame, and possibly fortune. I could name a few.
      But we get to go deeper than Holly’s exterior and see the scared and lonely girl at the core. She is terrified of being a caged animal, but also tired of being alone. She wants to seem as though she’s making a holiday out of life, but struggles with the need for stability and the desire for freedom.
      The book I read also included three of Capote’s most famous stories, and I’d be remiss not to mention them as well: House of Flowers, A Diamond Guitar, and A Christmas Memory. The three short stories are amazingly intimate and touching, illuminating different sides of human emotion. I have not read Capote’s magnum opus, In Cold Blood, but after witnessing his detailed descriptions and haunting perceptions of human nature in these shorter forms, I have added his novel to my “to-read” list.

http://www.goodreads.com/search/search?search_type=books&search[query]=Truman+Capote

Truman Capote


Truman Capote

Born: September 30, 1924 in New Orleans, Louisiana, The United States
Died: August 25, 1984
Genre: Literature & Fiction, Nonfiction

     Truman Capote was an American writer whose non-fiction, stories, novels and plays are recognised literary classics, including the novella Breakfast at Tiffany's (1958) and In Cold Blood (1965), which he labeled a "non-fiction novel." At least 20 films and TV dramas have been produced from Capote novels, stories and screenplays.
      He was born as Truman Streckfus Persons to a salesman Archelaus Persons and young Lillie Mae. His parents divorced when he was four and he went to live with his mother's relatives in Monroeville, Alabama. He was a lonely child who learned to read and write by himself before entering school. In 1933, he moved to New York City to live with his mother and her new husband, Joseph Capote, a Cuban-born businessman. Mr. Capote adopted Truman, legally changing his last name to Capote and enrolling him in private school. After graduating from high school in 1942, Truman Capote began his regular job as a copy boy at The New Yorker. During this time, he also began his career as a writer, publishing many short stories which introduced him into a circle of literary critics. His first novel, Other Voices, Other Rooms, published in 1948, stayed on The New York Times bestseller list for nine weeks and became controversial because of the photograph of Capote used to promote the novel, posing seductively and gazing into the camera.

      In the 1950s and 1960s, Capote remained prolific producing both fiction and non-fiction. His masterpiece, In Cold Blood, a story about the murder of the Clutter family in Holcomb, Kansas, was published in 1966 in book form by Random House, became a worldwide success and brought Capote much praise from the literary community. After this success he published rarely and suffered from alcohol addiction. He died in 1984 at age 59.

In Cold Blood: A True Account of a Multiple Murder and Its Consequences
     On November 15, 1959, in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas, four members of the Clutter family were savagely murdered by blasts from a shotgun held a few inches from their faces. There was no apparent motive for the crime, and there were almost no clues.
As Truman Capote reconstructs the murder and the investigation that led to the capture, trial, and execution of the killers, he generates both mesmerizing suspense and astonishing empathy. In Cold Blood is a work that transcends its moment, yielding poignant insights into the nature of American violence.

Quotes from In Cold Blood
   "Just remember: If one bird carried every grain of sand, grain by grain, across the ocean, by the time he got them all on the other side, that would only be the beginning of eternity. "
   "I despise people who can't control themselves."
   "It is no shame to have a dirty face- the shame comes when you keep it dirty."
   "There’s got to be something wrong with us. To do what we did. "
   "Those fellows, they're always crying over killers. Never a thought for the victims."
   "As long as you live, there's always something waiting; and even if it's bad, and you know it's bad, what can you do? You can't stop living."
   "The enemy was anyone who was someone he wanted to be or who had anything he wanted to have."
   "I've tried to believe, but I don't, I can't, and there's no use pretending."
   "Hickock whistled and rolled his eyes. "Wow!" he said, and then, summoning his talent for something very like total recall, he began an account of the long ride -the approximately ten thousand miles he and Smith had covered in the past six weeks. He talked for an hour and twenty-five minutes--from two-fifty to four-fifteen--and told, while Nye attempted to list them, of highways and hotels, motels, rivers, towns, and cities, a chorus of entwining names: Apache, El Paso, Corpus Christi, Santillo, San Luis Potosi, Acapulco, San Diego, Dallas, Omaha, Sweetwater, Stillwater, Tenville Junction, Tallahassee, Needles, Miami, Hotel Nuevo Waldorf, Somerset Hotel, Hotel Simone, Arrowhead Motel, Cherokee Motel, and many, many more. He gave them the name of the man in Mexico to whom he'd sold his own 1940 Chevrolet, and confessed that he had stolen a newer model in Iowa."

Comments about In Cold Blood written by teachers and journalists.

1.     by Kristi Steffen
At first I wasn't going to compose a review about this book. Considering the adapted-to-screen version, the biographical film centering around this period in the author's life, the seemingly infinite number of editions printed over the last 40+ years, the massive hype surrounding the murders/murderers even today, the more than likely THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS of reviews already written about the novel, and the general rock-stardom that IS Truman Capote, it seemed about as pointless as dropping a ...more      At first I wasn't going to compose a review about this book. Considering the adapted-to-screen version, the biographical film centering around this period in the author's life, the seemingly infinite number of editions printed over the last 40+ years, the massive hype surrounding the murders/murderers even today, the more than likely THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS of reviews already written about the novel, and the general rock-stardom that IS Truman Capote, it seemed about as pointless as dropping a pebble into the Pacific Ocean and hoping for a wave. Then I remembered that I had the gall to write a review about Dante's Inferno and thought...hey, why start worrying about being humble now? Truman certainly wasn't. He was blingin' before bling was even a word, kids. Hell, he had to walk to school uphill both ways barefoot in the snow carting around all his bling. But enough about SlickRick...err...Truman. On with the review! (gallop, gallop, gallop).
     The true-crime genre. Generally stinkier than what I would imagine that obese dude in Se7en's gaseous wind-breaks would be. I generally never peruse this section, which is why for entirely too long I was living under the assumption that the local bookstore was simply always sold out of copies of In Cold Blood. I'd been trying to read it for ages, but hadn't even considered that it could be over on the same shelf as The Stranger Beside Me (some of you, my lovely goodreads BFF's, may recall my feelings regarding THAT piece of shit). But enough with the review-nostalgia. I finally found it one day, took it home, and pounded it down like it was dressed tequila. It was the perfect book, in fact, to get me out of my reading funk. THREE CHEERS FOR MURDER! But I digress...
      The novel is superbly crafted, with spot-on pacing (with the exception of the first chapter which, though necessary, does draaaaaaaaaag on a wheeeeeeeeee bit) and, more importantly, characters so real that they don't even seem real. Their conversations flow with a subtle grace rarely seen in published writing in general, and specifically (surprisingly) even less in true crime novels. You would think that you would think "the shit is, like, for real real, so it should seem more for real real when you write it down for real than other not for real shit that you write down, right?" However, part of the oddly convincing feeling that one gets from the characters in In Cold Blood is actually largely due to the fact that the dialogue is written in a novelistic style rather than through the true crime genre's irritatingly common habit of using(more often than not chopped to bits) "direct" quotations. I would argue that this approach serves to put you outside of the situation, and makes you feel detached from the horrors of the subject matter, as well as less sensitive to the most important lessons that we could possibly learn from true crime books in general: The WHO these people actually were. The WHAT drove them over the edge. The WHEN they lost their marbles. The WHERE in their pasts the pivotal damage occurred. In short, not just the HOW they did what they did, but WHY they did it to begin with. I can’t say that Capote necessarily answer all of these questions. However, he made his best effort to, setting the stage for generations of true-crime authors to follow in his footsteps and expand upon the genre-bending path he laid for them. It is really too bad that so few actually do.

2.     Rolls Andre
     Recommends it for: Tru crime fans - get it?
Truman Capote's "In Cold Blood" is a highly disconcerting read. After painting an idyllic scene we'd expect from the Midwestern setting evil makes it's presence felt. The blood is chilled and the heart gripped as a result.

As everyone must know by now this is considered the first nonfiction novel. Meaning that all of the bare facts of this story actually took place. A family of four was indeed murdered in their home by two unknown assailants on 14 November 1959. What made th
...more     Truman Capote's "In Cold Blood" is a highly disconcerting read. After painting an idyllic scene we'd expect from the Midwestern setting evil makes it's presence felt. The blood is chilled and the heart gripped as a result.
      As everyone must know by now this is considered the first nonfiction novel. Meaning that all of the bare facts of this story actually took place. A family of four was indeed murdered in their home by two unknown assailants on 14 November 1959. What made this book innovative was the fact that Capote handled these facts not as a journalist but as a novelist. Rather than restrict himself to just the "who, what, where, when and why" of the fourth estate he let the fiction writer in him fill in the gaps left by the facts at hand. Scenes like Bonnie Clutter's last sad night on earth could and would only be attempted by a novelist.
      While Capote never makes it possible for us to forgive the murderers (not that he or anyone could) he goes a long way towards making them sympathetic. It is the film's ("Capote") claim that he fell in love with Perry Smith while writing this book. Perhaps. Smith does indeed come off as a fully rounded person while Hickock seems less interesting to him (and consequently to us). What counts though is that he makes them human. After reading about the nature of this crime that in itself is a huge achievement.
      Finally I just want to point out a person who played a huge part in this story but always fails to attract the attention accorded to the murdered, murderers or Capote himself namely Alvin Dewey. Dewey is the relentless Javert of this tale and it is through his eyes we see the facts unfold. Capote's drawing of him as a man "morally" wounded by the evil inherent in the murders of this poor family touches the heart. His refusal to let the murderers get away with their heinous crime galvanizes the spirit in turn.
This is where the true greatness of this book lies.
      I started this book one night at two in the morning and read til I finished it at nine a.m. It is the very definition of a page turner. Once you are told what happened it is impossible to put this book down until you find out why.

3.     Jason Binks
Within 10 minutes of finishing In Cold Blood you'll be on the internet searching for pictures of the killers and victims of this real world multiple-slaying narrated brilliantly by Truman Capote. The photos are there, and like a voyeur, you'll be drawn, captivated, needing to see the mug shots, the murdered family, the courtroom stills, the crime scene, each room that held a body with a head blown open like a busted melon.

Capote breathes such realism into the characters that all you
...more     Within 10 minutes of finishing In Cold Blood you'll be on the internet searching for pictures of the killers and victims of this real world multiple-slaying narrated brilliantly by Truman Capote. The photos are there, and like a voyeur, you'll be drawn, captivated, needing to see the mug shots, the murdered family, the courtroom stills, the crime scene, each room that held a body with a head blown open like a busted melon.
      Capote breathes such realism into the characters that all you'll need to make the story complete are those black-and-white photos. With an economy of words and language that is clear and straightforward, Capote successfully makes a difficult story very readable, very believable. The difficult part was taking a true story constructed from witness statements, interrogations, and multiple interviews between killers and author, and then salting in between with a dialogue that is perfectly deduced from a close personal knowledge of the killers--their attributes, their movements, their proclivities.
      I felt like I was watching the action unfold, not so much reading it. And yet, Capote was able to do this without the cloyed techniques so prevalent in the mass media paperbacks you find at large grocery store chains. There are no outrageous cliffhangers between chapters, no desperate chases, no irrational climax, no unknown player revealed in chapter finis. In fact, he chose to introduce the murderers up front, then coolly alternates chapters between killers and victims, and then, when victims were eliminated, between killers and prosecutors. I liked this approach. It's uncommon. I liked the way it disarmed me, and made it a story of mechanical transaction rather than an emotional racetrack. For this reason the story, for me, was one of 'why' instead of 'how.'
      I also liked that Capote applied psychoanalysis to the crime. Surely there must have been some insanity involved. But no, not really! And that was the real surprise. Apart from a tough childhood and some persistant hard knocks, the killers were probably no more deviant than a majority of cases that fall through the juvenille system, even today. The key ingredient to the crime was the bizarre congruency of their personalities--merely deviant when separated--that when mixed together created a lethal combination. Operating together, the killers must have felt the bewilderment one experiences when finding 2 spalls of broken rock in a large pile and suddenly, absurdly, fitting them exactly together.

4.     Shannon Brennan
We've all heard quite a lot about (from?) Truman Capote these past 12 months. Between Philip Seymour Hoffman's Capote and what's-his-name's (Toby Jones') performance in Infamous, it's rather difficult to even crack the spine of this over-explicated text without hearing the faint cackle of new-york-high-society-types, or picturing Mr. Capote himself, before a crowd, holding the book (a tome, in my mental image) above his head, in that fantastic anecdote about the primacy of the text. So, perhap...mor        We've all heard quite a lot about (from?) Truman Capote these past 12 months. Between Philip Seymour Hoffman's Capote and what's-his-name's (Toby Jones') performance in Infamous, it's rather difficult to even crack the spine of this over-explicated text without hearing the faint cackle of new-york-high-society-types, or picturing Mr. Capote himself, before a crowd, holding the book (a tome, in my mental image) above his head, in that fantastic anecdote about the primacy of the text. So, perhaps, we don't want to read it. Or to re-read it. Because of the cackling. And the hype.
      But I must tell you, dear reader: I just read it. Just now. Just yesterday. And I must be honest, too: it's rather good. It's rather good, yes, even (perhaps especially) in the context of all of this Hollywood hype: reading Perry Smith, for instance, as the novel's Perry Smith, and then as each director's Perry Smith, is an absolutely delightful project.
      And, no, In Cold Blood doesn't feel groundbreaking, journalistically, or novelistically--which makes sense, because time has, of course, passed since then, and The Laramie Project is fresh-ish in our (my) minds, but it feels...different. There is a precision to every word, every character, every scene, that I've seldom slapped eyes on. Mr. Capote's novel is what Winesburg, Ohio would be, if God skipped town and something cold, like fact, took His place.
Which is pretty awful, and pretty great.

5.     Mel Jones
In Cold Blood was an experiment in form—and the expansion of a genre. The author, Truman Capote did five years of painstaking research before committing what he learned to the page. The story of how the text came to be is almost as fascinating as the tale of the Clutter murders itself.
Capote insisted that there should be no authorial presence in the text, and yet his voice drips from each page. The protagonist is Perry Smith, the murderer who Capote is quoted comparing himself to. In the
...mo         In Cold Blood was an experiment in form—and the expansion of a genre. The author, Truman Capote did five years of painstaking research before committing what he learned to the page. The story of how the text came to be is almost as fascinating as the tale of the Clutter murders itself.
      Capote insisted that there should be no authorial presence in the text, and yet his voice drips from each page. The protagonist is Perry Smith, the murderer who Capote is quoted comparing himself to. In the book our sympathies lie with the murderer—with Capote—with the outsider. And the text is successful in this, the reader, this reader, walks away wondering if there but for the grace of God go any one of us.
And yet, Capote is not present. It would be impossible for Capote to have put himself into his book without taking away from the story. He was colorful, egocentric, and well, generally speaking, the center of attention. The impression gotten from the articles written about Capote and his work was that he was not well received in Holcomb. There were reports of Truman at hotels in pink lingerie… In 1959, in Kansas, one can assume that wasn’t very acceptable. Had he made himself someone within the text – how would that have changed the mom-and-apple-pie presentation he gives us? It’s not his story – he isn’t a character in it and I think wisely chose to allow the character be who and what they were – it gives the story a sort of insular integrity – these people, in this community…that Truman was not in any way connected to. The power of the story lies, at least in my opinion, in his physical absence.
      The structure of the text is compelling there is a starting point and an ending point. What happens in between is relative and although factual, it is contextual. The book is not linear at all and yet not once does the reader feel lost in time or space. What amazed me about Capote was his transitions from the murdered’s point of view to the murderers, to the detectives—seamlessly. I’m not sure how aware I was of this until I watched the movie, which isn’t seamless. It is clear why this text is one of the hallmarks in the genre of creative nonfiction.

6.     Philip Spires
         In Cold Blood by Truman Capote was published in 1966, and is based on events that happened almost fifty years ago. The events were real. This is not a work of fiction. The Clutters, an appropriately surnamed Kansas family, have their own complications within their rambling homestead. What family doesn’t? Clutter the father is a farmer. Who isn’t in these parts? Life is not so productive of late. Whose is? The two younger children, a daughter and a son, still live in. The others have left, happily.
      And then, in November 1959, the four Clutters are found gagged, apart from the mother, all with their throats cut and their brains blown out by shotgun fire. The community is in turmoil. No-one can explain why anyone might have wanted to kill a whole family in Holcomb, a small, poor, rural community in the mid-West Bible belt.
      Hickock (Hicock) and Smith are two lads on the move. Their families might be dysfunctional. On the other hand they might not. Their socialisation might have been lacking. On the other hand it might not. For whatever reason, individually and collectively they prey on others, prey in a way that renders them culpable, detectable and ultimately punishable. They know thieving is wrong. So, one of them says, we’ve stolen lives, so it must be serious. It was the two of them that pulled the trigger, that blew brains out, that slit throats, that did not quite commit rape. There are limits. And all for forty dollars and a transistor radio.
      I give nothing of this book away when I reveal that the two lads did commit the murders – exactly how no-one ever admitted – and that, after years of litigious wrangling, both were hanged. The strength of In Cold Blood is not what happens, but how it happens.
      Truman Capote offers us a vast book in just four sustained chapters, each of which is sub-divided as the narrative shifts between aspects of the different protagonists’ lives. Throughout, the style is much more complex than mere journalism, but the clarity with which it communicates is at times breathtaking. We hear from those directly involved, both victims and perpetrators, their families, the police, the judiciary, the neighbours, the lawyers, the passers-by, the acquaintances, the cellmates. The detail is forensic.
      It is essential that the reader is constantly reminded that this is not fiction. Truman Capote offers dialogue where a journalist would report, offers interpretation where an historian would defer, offer opinion where an observer might decline. And so In Cold Blood becomes and absorbing, multi-faceted, mid-twentieth century reworking of Crime And Punishment. The crucial difference that the intervening years have generated is that where the latter concentrated on the individual circumstances and motives of the perpetrator, In Cold Blood explores the social and the contextual alongside the psychological.
      And this is where the book becomes deeply disturbing, because it seems to suggest that the individuality that contemporary society seems to demand of us might itself promote a degree of self-centredness, of selfishness, perhaps, that might give rise to nothing less than contempt for others. In the forty years since the publication of In Cold Blood, it could be argued that such pressures might have increased.
Frightening, indeed.

7.     Rebecca Adler
In Cold Blood is a book I wouldn't normally have chosen because a) I'm afraid of everything and this for sure sounded like a scary topic and b) it's a true crime story, which makes it even more frightening in my mind. However, I'm glad I read it. I learned a lot about Truman Capote (sorry, wasn't one of the billions who went to see the movie about him a few years back), including that he was the first true crime author. As a journalist, I also really liked seeing how he was able to put all of hi...more         In Cold Blood is a book I wouldn't normally have chosen because a) I'm afraid of everything and this for sure sounded like a scary topic and b) it's a true crime story, which makes it even more frightening in my mind. However, I'm glad I read it. I learned a lot about Truman Capote (sorry, wasn't one of the billions who went to see the movie about him a few years back), including that he was the first true crime author. As a journalist, I also really liked seeing how he was able to put all of his interviews together into a flowing story (and a super long one at that!).
      In Cold Blood is about two criminals who think they've found a good gig when one of their inmates tells them about a farm job he used to have. The inmate tells them that the farmer spends $10,000 a week to run his business and the two assume the farmer, Mr. Clutter, keeps all that cash in a safe on his property. Once the two are released from jail, they drive 300 miles to the Clutter farm with the intentions of robbing the place and leaving no witnesses. When they get there they learn what anyone from the Clutter's town knows about the family: Mr. Clutter never has any cash on him. The locals joke that he'd write you a check for $1.50 because he never carries that much cash on him. Unfortunately, the lack of cash doesn't save the family and all 4 family members are shot in the head. It was a crime that rocked the nation in 1959 because it happened in such a small town, where people were presumably more safe than in big cities.
      Capote interviews everyone in the town and the two killers after they've been caught and he paints a vivid picture of the town and these criminals. You almost begin to feel sorry for the two criminals who had such hard lives up to this point. But once they describe the murder to detectives (more than halfway through the book), you can't help but be horrified by them. Up until this point you only had a vague idea of what happened based on what police thought. Hearing it straight from the murderers was difficult because they didn't seem to understand that they'd done anything wrong. One of them, Perry Smith, even says, "I thought he was a very nice, gentle man. I thought so right up until I slit his throat."
      I read this book at home alone at night and ended up not being able to sleep because it gave me the creepies. It was really well written and I recommend it, but if you're a scaredy cat like me, make sure someone is home with you so you can discuss it and get out all those worries.

8.     Jenn Elison
Let me start off by saying that I listened to the audio version narrated by Scott Brick. I found him to be an amazing narrator. He gave each of the main characters their own voice without being overly dramatic or cheesy. There was a subtle uniqueness to each voice that only added to my enjoyment of the book. He is the first narrator that I can picture myself listening to based on his presence and not necessarily based on the book.

Should we invest in literature based on true stori
...more      Let me start off by saying that I listened to the audio version narrated by Scott Brick. I found him to be an amazing narrator. He gave each of the main characters their own voice without being overly dramatic or cheesy. There was a subtle uniqueness to each voice that only added to my enjoyment of the book. He is the first narrator that I can picture myself listening to based on his presence and not necessarily based on the book.
      Should we invest in literature based on true stories that focus mainly on the perpetrators? Is it wrong that Perry Smith and Dick Hickock are as memorable to me than the Clutters--probably even more so? That may be true for a lesser book than In Cold Blood, but reading this book is completely worth while. It's a book that I've always been curious about but never read. I am, overall, a fan of the "murder mystery" genre, but I tend towards fiction rather than stories based in truth partly because I hate the fact that the victims might be exploited and the criminals glorified. But the sheer genius of the writing style in this book place it in a unique genre of its own.
      I don't think that I have fully digested this book. It may take me a while. As a result of reading it I had a wide range of feelings. Some include: sorrow for the family and friends of the Clutters; a desire to understand why it happened; anguish for Dick's parents and, to a lesser degree, Perry's family; amazement at the evil there is in the world; and a deeper realization that there is very little in the world that is black and white.
      And after reading this on the heels of Camus' The Stranger, I feel an essay coming on. How interesting to read two very different accounts of two similar characters. And by similar I am speaking of Perry Smith and Meursault, who both commit senseless murders without remorse. The similarities, to me, are astounding!
      This was a fascinating read. I don't know that it is ever possible to document an event and the people involved in it in a completely unbiased way. But realizing that, this book is a very well-written and worthy attempt.

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/168642.In_Cold_Blood