Reading with RM

Reading with RM

BTS BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS

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1. ALMOND (FREE WITH AMAZON PRIME) (Read by RM, Suga, & JHope)

Purchase Almond in English on Amazon
Almond Book Cover

 

This story is, in short, about a monster meeting another monster. 

One of the monsters is me.

Yunjae was born with a brain condition called Alexithymia that makes it hard for him to feel emotions like fear or anger. He does not have friends—the two almond-shaped neurons located deep in his brain have seen to that—but his devoted mother and grandmother provide him with a safe and content life. Their little home above his mother’s used bookstore is decorated with colorful Post-it notes that remind him when to smile, when to say "thank you," and when to laugh.

Then on Christmas Eve—Yunjae’s sixteenth birthday—everything changes. A shocking act of random violence shatters his world, leaving him alone and on his own. Struggling to cope with his loss, Yunjae retreats into silent isolation, until troubled teenager Gon arrives at his school, and they develop a surprising bond.

As Yunjae begins to open his life to new people—including a girl at school—something slowly changes inside him. And when Gon suddenly finds his life at risk, Yunjae will have the chance to step outside of every comfort zone he has created to perhaps become the hero he never thought he would be.

Readers of Wonder by R.J. Palaccio and Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig will appreciate this "resonant" story that "gives Yunjae the courage to claim an entirely different story." (Booklist, starred review)

Translated from the Korean by Sandy Joosun Lee.


2. The Stranger (2.99 on kindle) (Recommended by RM in this interview)
Purchase The Stranger In English on Amazon


In This interview RM expresses how this book inspired his art.

The Stranger is a 1942 novella by French author Albert Camus. Its theme and outlook are often cited as examples of Camus' philosophy, absurdism coupled with existentialism, though Camus personally rejected the latter label.

The title character is Meursault, an indifferent French settler in Algeria described as "a citizen of France domiciled in North Africa, a man of the Mediterranean, an homme du midi yet one who hardly partakes of the traditional Mediterranean culture." Weeks after his mother's funeral, he kills an Arab man in French Algiers, who was involved in a conflict with one of Meursault's neighbors. Meursault is tried and sentenced to death. The story is divided into two parts, presenting Meursault's first-person narrative view before and after the murder, respectively.

3. Human acts (4.99 Kindle) (Recommended by RM in this live stream)
Purchase Human Acts in English on Amazon
Human Acts

In the midst of a violent student uprising in South Korea, a young boy named Dong-ho is shockingly killed.
 
The story of this tragic episode unfolds in a sequence of interconnected chapters as the victims and the bereaved encounter suppression, denial, and the echoing agony of the massacre. From Dong-ho’s best friend who meets his own fateful end; to an editor struggling against censorship; to a prisoner and a factory worker, each suffering from traumatic memories; and to Dong-ho's own grief-stricken mother; and through their collective heartbreak and acts of hope is the tale of a brutalized people in search of a voice.
 
An award-winning, controversial bestseller, Human Acts is a timeless, pointillist portrait of an historic event with reverberations still being felt today, by turns tracing the harsh reality of oppression and the resounding, extraordinary poetry of humanity.

Shortlisted for the International Dublin Literary Award
Amazon
, 100 Best Books of 2017
The Atlantic, “The Best Books We Read in 2017”
San Francisco Chronicle, “Best of 2017: 100 Recommended Books”
NPR Book Concierge, 2017’s Great Reads
Library Journal, “Best Books of 2017”
Huffington Post, “Best Fiction Books of 2017”
Medium, Kong Tsung-gan’s “Best Human Rights Books of 2017”

4. Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 ($9.91 kindle) (Recommened by RM in this live stream)
Purchase Kim Jiyoung, Born in 1982 in English on Amazon

Kim Jiyoung is a girl born to a mother whose in-laws wanted a boy. Kim Jiyoung is a sister made to share a room while her brother gets one of his own.

Kim Jiyoung is a female preyed upon by male teachers at school. Kim Jiyoung is a daughter whose father blames her when she is harassed late at night.  

Kim Jiyoung is a good student who doesn’t get put forward for internships. Kim Jiyoung is a model employee but gets overlooked for promotion. Kim Jiyoung is a wife who gives up her career and independence for a life of domesticity.

Kim Jiyoung has started acting strangely.

Kim Jiyoung is depressed.

Kim Jiyoung is mad.

Kim Jiyoung is her own woman.

Kim Jiyoung is every woman.

Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 is the life story of one young woman born at the end of the twentieth century and raises questions about endemic misogyny and institutional oppression that are relevant to us all. Riveting, original and uncompromising, this is the most important book to have emerged from South Korea since Han Kang’s The Vegetarian.   

5. Demian (.49 on kindle) (Recommended by RM, Jin, JK, Suga, Jhope, V, & Jimin) (Wings album heavily inspired by this book)
Read Demian in English on Amazon
Demian
Demian' is a psychological masterpiece of modern literature. This novel explores the duality of human nature and the alienation of man's soul. A powerful coming of age story that continues to inspire generations of readers in its exploration of good and evil, morality, and self-discovery. A young man awakens to selfhood and to a world of possibilities beyond the conventions of his upbringing. Emil Sinclair is a quiet boy drawn into a forbidden yet seductive realm of petty crime and defiance. His guide is his precocious, mysterious classmate Max Demian, who provokes in Emil a search for self-discovery and spiritual fulfillment.

6. Please look after mom (11.99 on kindle) (recommended to V by a fan, read by V & RM in this livestream)
Read Please look after mom in English on Amazon
please look after mom

WINNER OF THEMAN ASIAN LITERARY PRIZE •When sixty-nine-year-old So-nyo is separated from her husband among the crowds of the Seoul subway station, her family begins a desperate search to find her. Yet as long-held secrets and private sorrows begin to reveal themselves, they are forced to wonder: how well did they actually know the woman they called Mom?

Told through the piercing voices and urgent perspectives of a daughter, son, husband, and mother, Please Look After Mom is at once an authentic picture of contemporary life in Korea and a universal story of family love.

“A suspenseful, haunting, achingly lovely novel about the hidden lives, wishes, struggles and dreams of those we think we know best.” —
Seattle Times
 
“Intimate and hauntingly spare.... A raw tribute to the mysteries of motherhood.” —
The New York Times Book Review

.7 A Bigger Message (11.99 on Kindle) (RM was seen reading this book after visiting the David Hockney exhibit)
Purchase A Bigger Message in English on Amazon
bigger message

David Hockney’s exuberant work is highly praised and widely celebrated—he is perhaps the world’s most popular living painter. But he is also something else: an incisive and original thinker on art.

This new edition includes a revised introduction and five new chapters which cover Hockney’s production since 2011, including preparations for the Bigger Picture exhibition held at the Royal Academy in 2012 and the making of Hockney’s iPad drawings and plans for the show. A difficult period followed the exhibition’s huge success, marked first by a stroke, which left Hockney unable to speak for a long period, followed by the vandalism of the artist’s Totem tree-trunk, and the tragic suicide of his assistant shortly thereafter. Escaping the gloom, in spring 2013 Hockney moved back to L.A. A few months later, Martin Gayford visited Hockney in the L.A. studio, where the fully-recovered artist was hard at work on his Comédie humaine, a series of full-length portraits painted in the studio.

.8 The Metamorphosis (.99 on kindle) (Read by RM)
Read The Metamorphosis in English on Amazon
Metamorphosis
Gregor Samsa lives an uneventful life. That is, until one morning he awakes to find himself transformed into a monstrous, verminous bug.

The celebrated work by Franz Kafka, The Metamorphosis is a psychological study of Gregor’s family and the world around him as Gregor endures a new and painful existence of a vermin.

.9 Norwegian Wood (12.99 Kindle) (Highly recommended by RM) 
Read Norwegian Wood in English on Amazon
NW
RM is a huge fan of Murakami’s works, He has read most of his books, including Kafka on the Shore and Killing Commendatore.
A magnificent coming-of-age story steeped in nostalgia, Norwegian Wood blends the music, the mood, and the ethos that were the sixties with a young man’s hopeless and heroic first love.

Toru, a serious young college student in Tokyo, is devoted to Naoko, a beautiful and introspective young woman, but their mutual passion is marked by the tragic death of their best friend years before. As Naoko retreats further into her own world, Toru finds himself drawn to a fiercely independent and sexually liberated young woman.

Stunning and elegiac, 
Norwegian Wood first propelled Haruki Murakami into the forefront of the literary scene.

.10 1Q84 By haruki Murakami (12.99 on kindle) (Highly recommended by RM) (Inspired the BTS song "Sea")
Purchase 1Q84 in English on Amazon

RM revealed that the hidden track “Sea” had been inspired by Murakami’s 1Q84.
NATIONAL BESTSELLER • The year is 1984 and the city is Tokyo. A young woman named Aomame follows a taxi driver’s enigmatic suggestion and begins to notice puzzling discrepancies in the world around her.

She has entered, she realizes, a parallel existence, which she calls 1Q84 —“Q is for ‘question mark.’ A world that bears a question.” Meanwhile, an aspiring writer named Tengo takes on a suspect ghostwriting project. He becomes so wrapped up with the work and its unusual author that, soon, his previously placid life begins to come unraveled.

As Aomame’s and Tengo’s narratives converge over the course of this single year, we learn of the profound and tangled connections that bind them ever closer: a beautiful, dyslexic teenage girl with a unique vision; a mysterious religious cult that instigated a shoot-out with the metropolitan police; a reclusive, wealthy dowager who runs a shelter for abused women; a hideously ugly private investigator; a mild-mannered yet ruthlessly efficient bodyguard; and a peculiarly insistent television-fee collector.

A love story, a mystery, a fantasy, a novel of self-discovery, a dystopia to rival George Orwell’s—
1Q84 is Haruki Murakami’s most ambitious undertaking yet: an instant best seller in his native Japan, and a tremendous feat of imagination from one of our most revered contemporary writers.

.11 Kitchen (9.99 ON Kindle) (Read by Suga, recommended by RM)
Purchase Kitchen in English on Amazon

Kitchen is an enchantingly original book that juxtaposes two tales about mothers, love, tragedy, and the power of the kitchen and home in the lives of a pair of free-spirited young women in contemporary Japan. Mikage, the heroine, is an orphan raised by her grandmother, who has passed away. Grieving, Mikage is taken in by her friend Yoichi and his mother (who is really his cross-dressing father) Eriko. As the three of them form an improvised family that soon weathers its own tragic losses, Yoshimoto spins a lovely, evocative tale with the kitchen and the comforts of home at its heart.
 
In a whimsical style that recalls the early Marguerite Duras, Kitchen and its companion story, Moonlight Shadow, are elegant tales whose seeming simplicity is the ruse of a very special writer whose voice echoes in the mind and the soul.

.12 1984 (FREE with kindle unlimited) (RM favorite that he often re-reads)
Purchase 1984 in English on Amazon

In 1984, London is a grim city in the totalitarian state of Oceania where Big Brother is always watching you and the Thought Police can practically read your mind. Winston Smith is a man in grave danger for the simple reason that his memory still functions. Drawn into a forbidden love affair, Winston finds the courage to join a secret revolutionary organization called The Brotherhood, dedicated to the destruction of the Party. Together with his beloved Julia, he hazards his life in a deadly match against the powers that be.

Lionel Trilling said of Orwell’s masterpiece, “1984 is a profound, terrifying, and wholly fascinating book. It is a fantasy of the political future, and like any such fantasy, serves its author as a magnifying device for an examination of the present.” Though the year 1984 now exists in the past, Orwell’s novel remains an urgent call for the individual willing to speak truth to power.

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