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Ah, yes, the famous leader with an IQ of 148 set out to destroy everything (including our hearts), and happens to be my ult bias. If you don't know him, he's part of the grammy-nominated global K-pop group Bangtan Sonyeondan (BTS), whose other members are Jin, Suga, J-hope, Jimin, V, and Jungkook.
A lot of the songs in their discography alludes to works of literature. We also see Namjoon read books in behind-the-scenes videos on their Youtube channel: BANGTANTV. So here are 7 (because ot⁷ all the way!) reviews of 7 books recommended by RM.
1. The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas
Though technically a short story, I have decided to add this to the list. Ursula K. Le Guin's story inspired the famous Spring Day song that just won't come off the charts. It's a story about a utopian city with a dark secret that discusses utilitarianism. The crystalline blue sea and festival-filled calendar of Omelas will give you something to think about.
I loved this story and hated it so much for how much it mirrors modern-day societies. I took up HUMSS (Humanities and Social Sciences) strand in grades 11 & 12 (you can choose a major strand during those years in the Philippines). In our favorite subject Disciplines in the Social Sciences, our teacher took us on field trips to impoverished and indigenous communities, courtrooms, asylums, and city jails (one for the men and another for women). He even took us to witness a city council meeting. After reading the Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas, I realized how much the world of the rich & powerful connected to the poor & vulnerable. This story is educational, beautiful, and devastating.
We see Namjoon and SOPE (Suga & J-hope) read this in their reality show BTS in the Soop. It follows the story of two boys: one who feels everything and another who feels absolutely nothing.
I give this book a 4.5 ⭐ because it was just good (at least by my standards). I learned about alexithymia and honestly, I'm not surprised that BTS read this book. A lot of their songs center around psychology like their album Map of the Soul: 7. I read the translated version so I guess there are some discrepancies in the use of language. Hopefully I become fluent in Korean in the next few weeks so I can read the original version in all its glory.
3. Kafka on the Shore
Like Namjoon, I'm a big fan of Haruki Murakami's work. He's able to mix mythology and Japanese culture with pop culture and metaphysical elements. It has alternating POVs: one is of Kafka Tamura, a 15 year-old boy who runs away from home and Nakata, an old man who lost his ability to read and memorize but can speak to cats.
I chose to review this specific Murakami book because it's my favorite. I've never read something so mind-blowingly interesting and new. As a fan of the Percy Jackson Universe, anything out of the ordinary is such a worthwhile read for me. There's some questionable things that happen in Kafka on the Shore, but dig a bit on the internet and you can find a psychological or cultural reason for it. I highly recommend this one. My favorite quote from the book is when Kafka was alone in the woods and said, "Silence, I discover, is something you can actually hear."
A trigger warning though: there will be inc*est, p*tricide (in classic oedipus complex fashion: killing ur dad in a dream), and I guess ped*philia.
It makes sense Namjoon read this because Kafka Tamura's namesake is the author Franz Kafka. This story is about Gregor's metamorphosis, and I'm not talking about his figurative transformation into a beautiful butterfly. The main character literally turns into a giant bug.
I don't know what to feel about this book. I laughed when he realized he became a giant insect, but maybe that's because I have the brain of a 7 year-old. Overall though, this book is a classic for a reason, and one of Franz Kafka's best works. It shows us how absurd life can be. I guess I even related to Gregor because this transformation of his caused him to become isolated from people he cared about. Sometimes, human growth and change can sever ties with people you thought would be there for a long time.
This book is about the author Henry David Thoreau's experience living in the woods. The quote from the movie Dead Poets Society, "I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life," is from Thoreau. Namjoon is seen reading this book at a cafe.
This book reminds me of my younger years at Assumption, a Catholic school emphasizing the importance of simplicity. I was never one for philosophical books without the fictional storytelling aspect. I was never hot for this book, but it does have lessons to teach us both on a societal and an individual level.
Also, totally unrelated, but I loved DPS! Nuwanda remains to be the most iconic character in cinematic history and I was deeply infatuated with Stephen Meeks.
This is a book everyone claims to have read but never did, except for Namjoon. George Orwell's prophetic book is about a dystopian society of Oceania where Big Brother knows everything that is going on. And I mean EVERYTHING.
This books needs a trigger warning because the Ministry of Truth triggered me so much. Many avid readers would recommend this book and I guess one should read it as it's a classic, but it just was not for me. I think it has to do with me reading the Maze Runner series and Hunger Games series growing up that I just gave up on dystopian fiction all together. I guess I'm a wimp now because I can't stomach the thought that one day we'll end up like Oceania (don't even get me started on the Handmaid's Tale).
7. Me Before You
I'll be honest and say that I never expected Rap Moooonstaaa to recommend this book. If you've seen the movie, then the central theme is the same. Me Before You is the first in the trilogy and is about Louisa Clarke who is an ordinary girl but ends up meeting Will who went through a traumatic accident.
I loved it. It's about romance and life and I enjoyed the jokes. I'll give the TRIGGER WARNING on euthanasia now though. There are some moments when you're annoyed at how insufferable a character could be, but that's how people are in real life. I give the book a solid 4-⭐ rating.
A big thank you to RM
On the whole, Kim Namjoon has good taste. He recommends classics, romance novels, psychological fiction. It's so refreshing to have a bias who recommends such amazing books. Being an ARMY truly has its perks. I'm grateful to be a part of the BTS-Army bond.
There are more books RM has recommended and seen reading and you can see the list here:
sending ♡, lyka
Anya Ali from Rabwah, Pakistan on August 04, 2021:
Thank you for an informative and well-written hub! I'll certainly take a look at the books you've talked about here that I've not yet read.