Enter Our National Reading Month Contest!

All of us here at ModCloth are big readers. So, to spread our love of literature and help promote National Reading Month, we’re giving away five copies of our book of the month, Malena Watrous’ If You Follow Me (Harper Perennial; $14.99).

To enter, join our Book Smarts group on GoodReads, and leave us a comment in the discussion titled, “What Are You Reading This Month?” Don’t know about GoodReads? It’s a social networking site that allows book lovers to share their favorite finds. If you tell us what book you’re currently reading ON GOODREADS by 11:59 p.m. on March 31, you could receive a free copy of If You Follow Me!

Attempting to flee her grief after her father’s suicide, 22-year-old Marina leaves bustling New York for the small, quirky town of Shika, Japan. Despite submerging herself in a new culture, a burgeoning career as an English language teacher, and within various complicated relationships both personally and professionally, Marina finds she can’t avoid her past – no matter how ridiculous the present may get.

The more Marina attempts to fit into her new community with Carolyn, the girlfriend she met in a college bereavement group and followed to Japan, the more she seems to stick out. The main culprit for this is Marina’s inability to understand Japanese gomi, or garbage, law that is practically akin to obsessive compulsive behavior. We’re not just talking about separating out recyclables – everyday of the month is reserved for a particular type of waste. As embarrassingly advised to Marina in a letter, “Before you throw a bottle, please clean (very clean!) and remove paper from outside. You should save this paper for Tuesday’s burnable collection, to put in bin by Mister Donuts. I think you eat a donuts every day. Maybe you know Mister Donuts location well.”

As her neighbors obsess over her gomi foibles, Marina tries everything to reach her students, whose attention is monopolized by Hello Kitty and sumo wrestling (she eventually succeeds somewhat by using sex-ed aids). As seasons pass for Marina abroad and her relationship with Carolyn deteriorates, she slowly discovers that she can’t be afraid to strike out on her own – even if that means facing the reality of her father’s death.

Loosely based on Watrous’ own life, If You Follow Me humorously depicts an awkward outsider’s experience. From the difficult-to-break language barrier to wrongly-taken social cues, Watrous’ rich characters make you feel like it could be you mixing up the plastics and paper outside of Mister Donuts. Though at times her prose lags, Watrous’ debut effort succeeds with a sharp eye capable of picking apart relationships and intensely voicing that strange space that lies between life and death. If You Follow Me will make you believe that nothing can truly disappear.

Interested in finding out for yourself? Visit us at GoodReads for a chance to win a copy of If You Follow Me!

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  1. Natasha (ModCloth) 03/08/2010 at 2:58 pm #

    ….a reading rainbow!

    Sorry, I couldn’t help myself. 🙂

  2. kelly 03/08/2010 at 3:09 pm #

    Ooohh.. are you guys going to keep recommending books every month?? Great idea!

  3. Kristina 03/08/2010 at 3:44 pm #

    Thank you for introducing me to GoodReads! I first went to the site because I can’t pass up an opportunity for a free book, but I think I’m really going to enjoy it. And I’m definitely going to buy “If You Follow Me” if I don’t win a copy!

  4. Lil 03/08/2010 at 3:49 pm #

    haha! I thought of that ^ right away too!

  5. Kaila 03/08/2010 at 5:34 pm #

    Right now I’m reading She’s Come Undone, by Wally Lamb, and my guilty pleasure, Hard Eight, the 8th in the series by Janet Evanovich (mysteries starring a delightfully blundering female bounty hunter in Jersey). I recommend the mystery series. I’m not enjoying the Lamb book as much as I’d expected to.

  6. Jennifer 03/08/2010 at 5:51 pm #

    This looks like another amazing read!

  7. Tara Melissa 03/08/2010 at 6:10 pm #

    Right now I’m reading the autobiography of Miles Davis. He’s a really fascinating, talented person.

  8. Meghan 03/08/2010 at 7:31 pm #

    I instantly started humming the Reading Rainbow theme song too!! 🙂 I have actually been sucked into a world of literature that I would have NEVER expected to see myself in. I am reading comics! A couple of my favs are ‘Walking Dead’ and ‘Fables’. Oh, and ‘Locke & Key’ and ‘Invincible’. If you are interested… a lot of these can be found at your local library in trade paperback form….

  9. Nicole 03/08/2010 at 7:34 pm #

    I love Goodreads! Just joined your group. Really looking forward to your book choices!

  10. Alison B. 03/08/2010 at 8:46 pm #

    I will give this book a try, and thank you for this idea! I like fantasy so I recommend any of the Holly Black books.

  11. Marie 03/08/2010 at 9:16 pm #

    I love GoodReads!!! I didn’t know it’s Nat’l Reading Month. That’s great!

    I’m glad you joined GoodReads and thanks for the cool contest! Look forward to future fun stuff from you guys at ModCloth.

  12. Alison 03/08/2010 at 11:02 pm #

    right now, I’m reading the comments on this page :D!!

  13. Kimmy Q 03/09/2010 at 12:31 am #

    I’m reading A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway. I love his prose because it makes me take my time when I read and really enjoy the book. I have a habit of trying to rush through books.

  14. Lisa 03/09/2010 at 12:55 am #

    I’m reading The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets Nest (for the fourth time!)

    I work for the company that published here it in Australia

    Amazing series, worth the read!

  15. Karissa 03/09/2010 at 1:54 am #

    @Meghan: I just discovered Fables, as well! Through a friend. But then again, we’re seasoned Japanese comic-readers. I was more shocked to find an American comic that I liked!

    I’m currently immersed in Elizabeth Bear’s Promethean Age series. Each one can kinda stand on its own, but I realized that I should have read in chronological order. This particular novel is called “Whiskey and Water.”

    It’s got your standard fantasy fare: faeries, elves, Angels, devils, etc. It’s Faerie vs. Promethean (that’d be us normal folk, as that’s who the mages supposedly fight for) and challenges what you think you know about myth!

    As they say in the novel: “Every story is true, but every book is a lie.”

  16. Kara 03/09/2010 at 2:03 am #

    Sounds like an interesting book. And currently I’m reading a Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. Although it can become slow at times, overall it’s a very entertaining and profound read.

  17. Melissa Shaffer 03/09/2010 at 8:04 am #

    This book looks great!

  18. Roxy 03/09/2010 at 10:16 am #

    I just finished reading The perks of being a Wallflower. Just started the crank series by Ellen Hopkins.

  19. Sandy Partridge 03/09/2010 at 10:41 am #

    I LOVE reading and was uber excited to get this notification!

    I just finished reading “The Rape of Nanking” which for anyone that would like to brush up on their history would find this book engaging!

    Can’t wait to read additional book suggestions!!

  20. betsy 03/09/2010 at 10:52 am #

    Modcloth+goodreads…what a combo!
    Great clothes and books coming from the same place.
    Can’t wait to get into “If you follow me”. I will need something while I wait for Suzanne Collins’ 3rd book from the Hunger Games trilogy to come out in August. Thank You!

  21. amy smeltzer 03/09/2010 at 11:43 am #

    Almost finished reading a really good book called Gringa.

  22. Allison 03/09/2010 at 3:05 pm #

    I’m reading the Devlin Diary!

  23. Maggie 03/09/2010 at 3:27 pm #

    I’ve been trying to get through this book “The Year of Living Biblically” but have been so busy lately! It’s funny stuff, albeit a little or a lot offensive to the religious.

  24. Rowena 03/09/2010 at 7:08 pm #

    trying to read one hundred years of solitude again.

  25. shushie 03/09/2010 at 11:17 pm #

    I am always on the lookout for the next great book to read so I’m happy to hear about Modcloth starting it’s own bookclub.

  26. Malena Watrous 03/10/2010 at 5:03 pm #

    Hi there. I was surprised and delighted to discover my book posted here–and to discover this amazing site, too! One of my oldest loves, an autobiographical detail that did not make it into the book, is vintage clothes, and I now have a new favorite website to haunt. So thank you, Modcloth, for picking my novel, and I look forward to spending lots of time on this site. And thank you to everyone else for your comments, too. Goodreads is my other favorite website–maybe I’ll “see” you there–we can trade book recs.

  27. Melissa 03/10/2010 at 8:54 pm #

    This sounds like a good read I am going to give it a try. I am currently reading “Into the Wild” I’ve seen bits and pieces of the movie but I am a firm believer that the book is always better. So before I watch the movie in full I’m reading the book.

  28. amisha 03/10/2010 at 11:33 pm #

    I am reading comics! A couple of my favs are ‘Walking Dead’ and ‘Fables’. Oh, and ‘Locke & Key’ and ‘Invincible’.

  29. Sara 03/11/2010 at 12:52 pm #

    This is awesome. I’m not in the middle of anything, but next on my list is “People of the Book” I’ve started it, but with school it had to get put on the shelf for a while. Can’t wait to get back to it though

  30. Cynthia 03/14/2010 at 1:16 pm #

    currently re-reading the Bell Jar, classic Sylvia Plath. I always re-read it when things are going badly for me

  31. Courtney Sampson 03/14/2010 at 7:07 pm #

    I’m reading Edie: American girl, the biography on Edie Sedgwick.

  32. Sean 03/19/2010 at 1:07 am #

    I’m currently reading Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer.

  33. Josie 03/19/2010 at 5:34 pm #

    This summary reminds me a little of Amelie Nothomb’s Tokyo Fiance. That was a fantastic book.

  34. Natalie 03/19/2010 at 8:13 pm #

    Currently reading “The Diving Bell and The Butterfly”. It is amazing that he wrote a book with just his eyelid, but also a little upsetting at times.

  35. Stacy 03/22/2010 at 1:57 pm #

    I’m reading Augusten Burroughs “Dry” again. Love this book.

  36. Jane warner 03/22/2010 at 3:28 pm #

    Well, right now I am reading a book called Heist Society written by Ally Carter. It is an easy read for anyone and I love it especially because it is for my age group. I am twelve years old and I am addicted to reading. I really love this book.

  37. Christina 03/22/2010 at 8:25 pm #

    I’ve been in a Victorian horror/suspense phase, so I have been reading Bram Stoker’s classic, Dracula. Still so spooky,even though it was written in the late 19th century.

  38. PorterHill 03/23/2010 at 9:23 pm #

    I recommend anything by Kathe Koja. Her style is simple yet beautiful.

  39. Deb Cohen 03/23/2010 at 9:23 pm #

    The weed that strings the hang mans sac. Or the Flavia De Luce books… there SOOO GOOD!

  40. Andrea 03/24/2010 at 12:16 am #

    Valley of the Dolls it’s so vintage but i love it so far!
    it’s by Jacqueline Susann.

  41. erica leigh 03/24/2010 at 9:08 pm #

    i was so happy to find out you guys are on goodreads! that’s one of my favorite sites. definitely entering the contest.

  42. Irene 03/25/2010 at 9:02 pm #

    If I Die in a Combat Zone by Tim O’Brien

    The Folklore of the Discworld by Terry Pratchett and Jacqueline Simpson

  43. Molly 03/26/2010 at 4:18 pm #

    I have a friend living in Japan teaching English & considered the same. I’m going to check my library for this book. thanks! 🙂

  44. Theresa 03/31/2010 at 9:19 pm #

    The Book of Joe by Jonathon Trooper is such a great read! Very entertaining and a bit of an eccentric book, but has such a great message that it carries out!

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