Apart from producing hits and top-charting numbers, one of the favorite hobbies of BTS’ leader, RM, aka Kim Namjoon, is reading quality books! He is an avid reader who has talked about his love for books several times during his live streams and interviews. So spotting him in pictures with a book in his hand isn’t very uncommon. As we know that a person’s bookshelf tells loads about their personality and character, and we can’t expect ARMYs to ever spare an opportunity to get to know their idols better, can we? So here are the top eight best books recommended by BTS’ RM that play an important role in making RM what he is today. So get your hands on these classic cults and must-read books across genres!
Even if you aren’t a BTS fan, you can blindly go with these suggestions as a book-lover. Not only are some of them are deep and meaningful but also inspiring and realistic.
8. The Catcher in the Rye (1951)
Author: J.D. Salinger
Genre: Fiction, Coming of age
Widely renowned as one of the best English novels of the twentieth century, ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ is a book every teenager should read at least once in their lives! Set after the end of the Second World War, the novel revolves around two eventful days of a 17-year-old boy named Holden Caulfield living in California who gets expelled from prep school because of failing most of his subjects. A disillusioned Holden sets out to look for truth and rails against the hypocrisy of adult life, only to end up being all depressed and mentally exhausted.
The book deals with problems like loss, connection, identity, mental health, and depression. No wonder the book’s protagonist is considered an icon for teenage rebellion and a treat for book lovers of all age groups!
7. Metamorphosis (1915)
Author: Franz Kafka
Genre: Fantasy fiction
Metamorphosis, on the upfront, might seem to new book readers a book that must be upbeat and positive. Only when you dig further can you understand the depth and psychological impact that it has over the masses. One of the classics by Franz Kafka, the novel centers on a man named Gregor Samsa who wakes up one day to find himself transformed into a monstrous insect. At first, he considers it to be temporary, but soon the illusion goes away as he struggles to fit into his new world, in his new body of an insect.
With his transformation, his family loses financial stability, and taking care of their family member who doesn’t seem to be a human anymore becomes like a burden to them. The book explores the changing perspective of Gregor as he handles his alienation which forms the principal themes of it. The novel has been adapted into several movies and has been translated into many languages.
6. Kitchen (1988)
Author: Banana Yoshimoto
RM seems to love this book a lot, considering the times he mentioned it in an interview back in 2018 and carried it to a comeback show preview later. Consisting of two short stories, ‘Kitchen’ is contemporary Japanese literature that highlights the themes of maternal idea, love, sexuality, and grief. It is a short, poignant tale revolving around a woman named Mikage Sakurai and her experiences with love and tragedy. The novel is considered a perfect jewel with a pure, delicious, and comforting tale and a surreal depth. Through this piece of art, Yoshimoto has given a vivid description and broad depictions of everyday life in a Japanese family.
5. The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas (1973)
Author: Ursula K.Le Guin
Genre: Philosophical Fiction
The recipient of the Hugo Award for Best Short Story back, ‘The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas’ is a short story that describes a utopian city called Omelas vividly and lays forward the horrors that are involved with this so-called “perfect place”. Through its depiction of a summer festival organized in Omelas, the narrator gets to witness the perpetual misery of a child as a result of its prosperity. The book’s title refers to those people who decide to leave the world of utopia who fail to ignore these horrors, unable to be a part of it. A thought-provoking tale, the story gives the message that everything good comes with a price to pay in different forms.
4. Demian (1919)
Author: Hermann Hesse
Genre: Fantasy Fiction
Originally termed as ‘Emil Sinclair,’ ‘Demian’ is a spiritual book about self-realization and a path to find one’s true self. The story follows a young boy named Emil Sinclair, raised in a middle-class household, and the confusion about his life prevalent in his teenage years and his adulthood. In his journey of self-discovery, he is accompanied by a mysterious classmate and friend named Max Demian, relying on whom he fights against the shallow and superficial ideals of the world. Not only was RM captured reading this novel backstage during the filming of a music video but also has been referred to in BTS’ album, ‘Wings’ in the MV, ‘Blood Sweat and Tears’. As a BTS fan, if you want to decode their concept, you have got your hands at the most feasible thing!
3. Almond (2017)
Author: Won Pyung Sohn
One of the favorite novels recommended by BTS’s RM, Almond, marks the debut book written by Won Pyung Sohn (translated by Sandy Joosun Lee in English). Through this book, the writer has explored the vast universe of adolescence and its complicated emotions. The story is basically about a boy named Yunjae who suffers from a brain condition called Alexithymia, because of which he finds it hard to feel emotions like anger, fear, and empathy— emotions that he refers to as ‘Almonds’. After a tragic incident that changes his life forever, he struggles to adapt himself to his new lifestyle, and it is then that he comes across another teenage boy named Gon, who is a victim of a troubling past.
As the two strike up a friendship, they begin to bond with each other like never before, and another chapter from their lives unfold. ‘Almonds’ blurs the line between young adult and adult fiction and beautifully presents its story to readers of all age groups who can relate and sympathize with the characters.
2. The Stranger (1942)
Author: Albert Camus
Genre: Philosophical Fiction
Also known as ‘The Outsider’ by the English readers, ‘The Strangers’ aka ‘L’Étranger’ is a French novel which is famous for bearing the theme of Camus’ philosophy and absurdism. The protagonist is a philosopher named Meursault who, after knowing about the death of his mother living in an old age home, returns to the country. He fulfills his responsibility of taking some time off from his work to be a part of the funeral, but contradictory to society’s expectations of him, he doesn’t show any symptoms of grieving in that sensitive scenario.
It also has a subplot in it, which follows a murder on a beach questioning the theme of humanity. The novella showcases a man who is condemned because of not being able to figure out his emotions. It has been adapted as films in various languages as well, including Lo Straniero (1967) in Italy and Yazgı (2001) in Turkish.
1. Me Before You (2012)
Author: Jojo Moyes
Genre: Romance Fiction
‘Me Before You’ is a romance novel encouraging empathy and perseverance that tells the story of a genius, handsome and rich hunk named Will Traynor, who had been living a perfect life before he encountered a major accident and ended up in a wheelchair. In order to take care of a disabled Will and persuade him to give his life a second chance, a bright and upbeat girl named Louisa Clark is hired. However, Will’s lack of desire to live over being disabled gives rise to bitterness and hopelessness. It is a beautiful book with a lesson to find a way to live your life no matter the situation.
Its bitter-sweet makes the book all the more heartfelt and sincere. The two sequels of the book, ‘After You’ and ‘Still Me’ have already been released in 2015 and 2018, respectively. Moreover, it has been adapted into a movie bearing the same name starring Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin in lead roles.
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