The leader of the famous group BTS, RM aka Kim Namjoon is an avid reader. He has shared his fair share of book recommendations through his stories and songs. The book list, which consists of classic must-reads and cuts across genres, should be explored by everyone, but especially if you're someone who loves Namjoon-ing. This list is for you:
1) Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 by Cho Nam-Joo, translated by Jamie Chang.
RM said he read this book in a November 2017 Livestream, saying it was thought-provoking. Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 follows the life of an average married millennial woman as her sanity deteriorates in the face of lifelong misogyny.
2) Human Acts by Han Kang, translated by Deborah Smith
In the same November live, RM said he read this book by Han Kang. Set in 1980, Gwangju, South Korea, the book explores topics like humanity, violence, censorship, and more through various narrators in the aftermath of the Gwangju Uprising.
3) Almond by Won Pyung-Sohn, translated bySandy Joosun Lee
In their reality show In the Soop, RM, and later SUGA and j-hope, were seen reading this book. Almond follows the story of a boy, Yunjae, with a condition called Alexithymia, which makes it difficult for him to experience emotions like fear and anger. It focuses on the bond and contrast between him and another boy Gon who, unlike him, feels too much.
4) The Stranger by Albert Camus, translated by Matthew Ward
In a 2016 interview, RM had talked about this book and mentioned being inspired by Camus’ idea of brevity and conciseness in art. The book itself explores philosophy and existentialism through the story of a man who shoots someone after his mother’s death.
5) Demian by Hermann Hesse
Demian is heavily referenced in BTS’s 2016 album, WINGS, and the group members have all read the book. RM, specifically, was also seen reading the book backstage during a music video shooting in 2015. Demian is a book that talks about spirituality and self-realisation as the protagonist, Sinclair, finds himself with the help of his classmate Max Demian.
6) Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
In a 2015 interview, RM said the book had left a deep impression on him. Me Before You is a lighthearted yet emotional book about depression, self-discovery, and romance.
7) The Noonday Demon by Andrew Solomon
In a March 2017 Livestream, RM had mentioned that he was reading this book. The Noonday Demon describes Soloman’s own intense experience of depression as well as others’ and digs into the historical and cultural aspects of the disease.
8) 1984 by George Orwell
In a 2017 interview, RM said that 1984 was a book he liked re-reading. Published in 1949, the book describes a dystopian world that has fallen to war, omnipresent mass surveillance, and totalitarianism among other concepts. It’s a timeless piece of literature that continues to be relevant to this day.
9) Nature by Ralph Waldo Emerson
RM was also seen reading Nature backstage in 2019. Originally published in 1836, this was the essay where Emerson first laid down the foundation of transcendentalism on paper.
10) The Soul Of The Tree: A Master Woodworker's Reflections by George Nakashima
RM’s often referred to George Nakashima as his favourite woodworker and has several pieces from him and his family. In a behind the scenes episode for their show Run! BTS, he was seen reading Nakashima’s autobiography. The Soul of a Tree tells us the story of Nakashima who went from Paris to Tokyo to Pondicherry in his search for the meaning of life and how he began to work with timber.
11) Walden by Henry David Thoreau
In a Korean variety show in 2016, RM had been reading Walden at a cafe. The book details Henry David Thoreau’s experience living a life of simplicity and self-reliance for over two years in a cabin he built in woodlands owned by his mentor and friend Ralph Waldo Emerson.
12) Norwegain Wood & 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
RM has often remarked that he’s a huge fan of Murakami’s works and has read many of his books, including Kafka on the Shore and Killing Commendatore. In a press conference for their album “Love Yourself: Her”, RM had revealed that the hidden track “Sea” had been inspired by Murakami’s 1Q84.
13) Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto
In a 2018 interview, RM and Suga had said they were reading the book. Later, in a comeback show preview, RM was again spotted with the book. Kitchen contains two short stories about love, mothers, transsexuality, grief, and tragedy.
14) Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
RM had said he was reading this book in a 2017 interview. Metamorphosis tells the story of a man who wakes up one day having suddenly transformed into an insect, exploring his feelings of alienation and the behaviour of the people around him.
15) Please Look After Mother by Kyung-Sook Shin
RM and V discussed this book in an October 2017 Livestream, and V revealed the book was actually recommended to him by a fan. Written in second-person and first-person narration in parts, the book tells the moving story of So-nyo, who gets separated from her husband at a train station, and her family, who search for her as they recall memories and realise how they took her for granted.
If you're an avid reader who loves books as much as Namjoon, these books are the best for you.
Thanks For Reading!!