2014 Book #37: The 42nd Parallel (USA part 1)

42ndparallelOkay, so The 42nd Parallel only qualifies as its own book in the way that The Lord of the Rings does: John Dos Passos‘s USA trilogy is really one big book. That’s my disclaimer. Note that I’m disregarding this disclaimer because USA is loooong – at least as long as The Lord of the Rings. Three books it is, then.

Still suffering from my book rut, I stumbled on The 42nd Parallel while I was browsing around Oyster (which just got even more awesome with a web reader!). I’ve wanted to read USA since I saw a theatrical production of it when I was in high school, but I never got around to it mainly because of its length. Splitting it into three makes it seem more doable, especially with my limited free time because (you guessed it!) puppy.

Dos Passos seems to be aiming at the Great American Novel by encompassing all of North America in this ginormous book. In the first of the trilogy, we meet five main characters: Mac, Janey, Eleanor, J. Ward Moorehouse, and Charley. Separate chapters are given to each character in a style like the Game of Thrones books. They come from vastly different backgrounds and lead vastly different lives, but they all intersect, at least tangentially, in often fascinating ways.

I really loved this book, and I could tell from the beginning that it’s a masterpiece. Maybe no one reads it anymore because of its length – calling The Great Gatsby the Great American Novel seems more palatable because almost anyone can pick it up and experience it in its entirety within a couple of hours. That’s definitely not the case with USA, but it’s entirely worth it. The rest of the trilogy will follow in short order.

And on to the puppy. It’s been so long since I’ve posted that I had to scroll down the last couple entries and was surprised at how much has happened since. She’s definitely growing. Here she is at the vet, waiting on her last round of shots and a microchip!

Now that she’s had all of her shots, we can go on more adventures! A couple weeks ago, we went to Hamel Park to see the Red River:

A few days later, we went to Caney Lake for a picnic lunch and visited Nunpoo in Minden.

Nunpoo was very happy to see Zelda.

Zelda is, of course, a puppy, so things don’t always run perfectly smoothly:

She’s big enough, now, that she can jump right onto the coffee table or over the baby gates we installed to keep her in the living room. Oh, well. We’re working on things. One good thing about puppies: she was asleep five minutes later.

Finally, yesterday was National Mutts Day, so we celebrated with a selfie:

As I’m sure you’ve noticed, I’ve had to slow down my reading. There’s the book rut that won’t seem to go away and, of course, the puppy. It doesn’t help that I’m choosing long books, either. A friend talked about The Pillars of the Earth on Facebook, so of course I had to give it a try. It’s like Game of Thrones without dragons. I had no idea! It’s really good, except it’s too long, so I’ve put it on hold for a while. I hope I get my act together finish it soon.

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