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Thread: "In Cold Blood" Group Reading

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    Pièce de Résistance Scheherazade's Avatar
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    "In Cold Blood" Group Reading

    This thread is dedicated to the group discussion of In Cold Blood:
    "Until one morning in mid-November of 1959, few Americans--in fact, few Kansans--had ever heard of Holcomb. Like the waters of the river, like the motorists on the highway, and like the yellow trains streaking down the Santa Fe tracks, drama, in the shape of exceptional happenings, had never stopped there." If all Truman Capote did was invent a new genre--journalism written with the language and structure of literature--this "nonfiction novel" about the brutal slaying of the Clutter family by two would-be robbers would be remembered as a trail-blazing experiment that has influenced countless writers. But Capote achieved more than that. He wrote a true masterpiece of creative nonfiction. The images of this tale continue to resonate in our minds: 16-year-old Nancy Clutter teaching a friend how to bake a cherry pie, Dick Hickock's black '49 Chevrolet sedan, Perry Smith's Gibson guitar and his dreams of gold in a tropical paradise--the blood on the walls and the final "thud-snap" of the rope-broken necks.
    http://www.amazon.com/Cold-Blood-Tru.../dp/0679745580
    ~
    "It is not that I am mad; it is only that my head is different from yours.”
    ~


  2. #2
    Pièce de Résistance Scheherazade's Avatar
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    So, I started reading (or wanted to) this one today but fell asleep on the very first page.

    I will not take this as an omen and give it another chance

    Also realised that my copy is a large print one which is quite becoming at my age! The librarian must have a kind heart.
    ~
    "It is not that I am mad; it is only that my head is different from yours.”
    ~


  3. #3
    Sheherazade, can you please let me know how the pacing works? (If there even is suggested pacing for everyone to follow) I have not participated in a group reading online before.

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    Ghost in the Machine Michael T's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scheherazade View Post

    Also realised that my copy is a large print one which is quite becoming at my age! The librarian must have a kind heart.


    Just about to delve into my copy now...he says, wondering when his daughter is going to appear online!

  5. #5
    Pièce de Résistance Scheherazade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThousandthIsle View Post
    Sheherazade, can you please let me know how the pacing works? (If there even is suggested pacing for everyone to follow) I have not participated in a group reading online before.
    Hello

    There isn't a prescribed pace or reading schedule. Since this is no class or course, everyone is free to read at their own pace and post if and when they feel like.

    Take your time. The important thing is that we all enjoy the reading experience.

    ~
    "It is not that I am mad; it is only that my head is different from yours.”
    ~


  6. #6
    Registered User Zee.'s Avatar
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    One of my favourite books

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    solid motherhubbard's Avatar
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    I'm in the third section. It's a little frightening. I got up and locked my doors last night.

    I think it's wonderfully written. I like the back and forth way it unfolds. He fleshes out the character of these people.

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    Registered User PoeticPassions's Avatar
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    The great thing about this novel is that it is one of the first "non-fiction novels," or journalism told in a semi-fictional way... Capote wrote everything from memory, not using notes or especially a tape recorder, which might have later produced some fiction to the "real" accounts he provides.

    I think it would be interesting to explore his prose style... his descriptions and how they diverge from journalistic reporting, or how they might be similar? But also to delve into some of the themes... how present is the author in all of this?? Does he let his own views be seen? Does he inject his own moral standpoint into the story?

    Or perhaps we can talk about these things once everyone has finished reading the book.
    "All gods are homemade, and it is we who pull their strings, and so, give them the power to pull ours." -Aldous Huxley

    "Sooner murder an infant in its cradle than nurse unacted desires." -William Blake

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    Registered User Page Turner's Avatar
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    POSSIBLE SPOILERS:

    I've read this book a few times as well as having seen the film at least once. (Great movie, btw.) I wanted to tell a little story that relates to this book.

    Back in the mid-70's I was in Garden City Kansas visiting a friend. That night we went for a little drive and he pulled up to a tree lined dirt road where there was a row of houses. He points over to one of the houses and says, "That's the Clutter house." Freaked me out. I remember when this story broke. We grew up in eastern Kansas but it was still big news back then. Before this happened we never locked our doors, afterward we always did.

    Anyway I wanted to point out to you folks that this was not an isolated farm house. I don't remember if the book points it out but this was row of homes that were probably 50 yards apart.

    I don't think that any of this would spoil the story for you but if anyone wishes I'll be happy to delete this message.

    P.T.

  10. #10
    biting writer
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    Page, I can't really join the discussion solely on my memory of 1st reading and possibly additional scans, but thank you for this detail. I did not picture the ritualistic murder of the family as going on in a near sublet type environment--and, this is just my opinion, but you were very polite about possible spoilers, so I hope you do not delete your post.

  11. #11
    Pièce de Résistance Scheherazade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Page Turner View Post
    POSSIBLE SPOILERS:

    Anyway I wanted to point out to you folks that this was not an isolated farm house. I don't remember if the book points it out but this was row of homes that were probably 50 yards apart.
    In the book it is mentioned that there was no other house within half a mile and that the only their hired hand's lived in a house less than 100 yards from the main house.

    I wonder if those houses you saw were built later on? After the incident?


    I have read only 1/8 of the book yet but I am enjoying it very much. One would think that knowing how a story would take something away from it a little but Capote is very masterfully setting up the scene; it is nice to be able to concentrate on "how" without having to worry about "what next?"
    ~
    "It is not that I am mad; it is only that my head is different from yours.”
    ~


  12. #12
    Registered User Page Turner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scheherazade View Post
    In the book it is mentioned that there was no other house within half a mile and that the only their hired hand's lived in a house less than 100 yards from the main house.

    I wonder if those houses you saw were built later on? After the incident?
    I seem to remember reading it that way too which is why it surprised me to see the houses so close together. My friend could have been b.s.'ing me but I don't think so. As to your other point all the houses looked to be about the same age. Seems like that land would have been a hard real estate sale.

    Either way, great book. Hope you all enjoy it.

  13. #13
    solid motherhubbard's Avatar
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    I just finished. Not a genera that I normally read, but Capote can really tell a story. I'm thinking 9/10. I really enjoyed the ending. Sometimes I end a story wondering what happened to so and so. Not this time.

  14. #14
    Pièce de Résistance Scheherazade's Avatar
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    I have read 2/5 so far and couple of things I am wondering:

    - Are there homosexual undertones to Perry and Dick's relationship? It is true that Perry expresses a dislike towards homosexual relationships he witnesses while at Navy, still his obsession with strong male characters is interesting.

    - The letters by Perry's father and sister are genuine articles? If so, they are very interesting.

    Looking at their life stories, how things were shaping for years to make these two meet and find their way to the Clutter house, one cannot help wondering if there is something called "fate".
    ~
    "It is not that I am mad; it is only that my head is different from yours.”
    ~


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    Registered User Zee.'s Avatar
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    Dick is definitely not a homosexual. You'll see what I mean when you finish Sche

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