You may have heard of BTS (or not! That’s okay too!). They are currently the biggest band in the world, all the way from South Korea. There are many reasons for their fame – incredible music, cool dance moves, and each of the 7 members have their own unique, shining personalities. One of these shining personalities is Kim Namjoon, also known as RM, BTS’s leader. Any BTS fan knows his love for songwriting, museums, and most importantly, BOOKS! In honor of his impeccable taste in books, here is a list of Namjoon’s recommendations to get you reading this summer!
Philip Guston: A Life Spent Painting by Robert Storr
On top of being a reader, Namjoon is an art aficionado! He attended the Philip Guston exhibit in Boston back in May, and recently talked about Guston being one of his favorite artists in the podcast Intersections: The Art Basel Podcast. He was seen reading this book in his instagram stories.
Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 by Cho Nam-Joo
This book follows a young mother living an ordinary life. She suddenly suffers a psychotic episode that leads her to impersonate the lives of other women. Because she assumes others' identities, social conventions are broken and we see the people around her react to her ‘strange’ behavior (which is just another way of saying she is not living her life in an ‘ordinary’ standard way anymore). Namjoon quotes “the book’s implications were unlike any other, and I was impressed. It’s a thought-provoking book.” He is also quoted in the foreword of the English version!
Almond by Won-Pyung Sohn (9780062961389)
Namjoon and Yoongi (also known as SUGA of BTS) were seen reading this book during season 1 of IN THE SOOP. The book surrounds a young boy named Yunjae, who suffers from alexithymia (the inability to describe and identify emotions) due to an underdeveloped amygdalae. Yunjae faces difficult situations while coming to terms with his condition. It explores the unique aspect of an unknown condition while Yunjae learns to form bonds with others through his own way.
I Want to Die But I Want to Eat Tteokbokki by Baek Sehee
To be published November 1, 2022!
This Korean bestseller (to be published in English this November!) is part memoir, part self-help, dealing with the woes of depression and the struggles of finding self-love. The story is told through a series of dialogue between her and her psychiatrist, showing us the nonlinear journey of finding stability while struggling with persistent depression. I’m personally excited for this to be released.
Human Acts by Han Kang
This book is about the Gwangju Democratic Uprising of 1980, which is one of the most important events in the history of South Korea. For some historical context: the GDU came about after the assassination of the South Korean president. On May 18th, college students came together to demonstrate against governmental oppression and they were subjected to brutal violence for protesting. The book is described to be incredibly important in terms of keeping the Uprising as a symbol of fighting for democracy, but visceral and violent in its contents. Namjoon himself described it as ‘a heavy-hearted read’.
Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto
This novel follows a young woman dealing with grief, and immerses herself into the culinary world to cope. While dealing with grief, she is also trying to start a new life and quickly finds that the culinary arts is her passion. The book is all about growing up and the importance of food being a staple in keeping people together. Namjoon was seen reading this at a cafe.
This is only a snippet of his library, but he often shares recommendations with his fans through his social media platforms, such as instagram, vlive, and weverse. Even if you’re not a fan, his taste in books covers all genres so I guarantee you’ll love at least one of them!