- May 31 - King Library Opens at 1:00 PM
In Malena Watrous' debut novel, If You Follow Me, 22-year-old Marina and her girlfriend Carolyn travel to a small town in Japan to teach English to local high school students. While there they struggle to learn the rules of gomi, or garbage, like which receptacle to use for their empty wine bottles. They struggle with each other too, realizing too late that being far from home with only each other is too much strain on their relationship. Marina also struggles internally to cope with her father's suicide.
This book had me hooked from the start and I found myself thinking about Marina, Carolyn and their friends and co-workers throughout my day. It was also intriguing to learn about the Japanese take on garbage. We always hear that people in the U.S. throw away too much trash, but learning that the people of Japan soak the labels off their bottles before recycling the glass brings the point home. This book is about much more than garbage, however, and through her energetic prose and great characters Watrous makes this "stranger in a strange land" story work.