12 thought-provoking books recommended by RM of BTS!

Aishwarya Srinivasan
New Update
World Book Day

If you love RM’s literary taste or love exploring new books, we’ve curated a list of interesting reads that you might wanna dive into right away!

RM of BTS is known to be an avid book reader and also someone who perpetually loves sharing his reading obsessions with his fans. Through his platform and the exposure that it gives him, he uses it to promote the work of artists who otherwise would not have been easily discovered by the world. He especially likes reading books of budding Korean authors who have then gone on to become best selling writers just by a simple mention by him. But if you see the kind of books he recommends, you will realize that most of them deal with themes of self exploration, introspecting life choices, feminism and philosophy. They are so unique, instantly intriguing and rarely heard of that by reading the description itself you want to go pick up the book. Often, the books that he recommended also became inspiration for BTS’ albums. RM particularly is known for the intellectual conversations he has over these books and his take away from it. 

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So whether you’re an army or not, these books could totally be on your TBR!

Kim Ji-Young, Born 1989 - Cho Nam-Joo, translated by Jamie Chang

RM recommended this book back in 2017 while he was on a livestream and said that it was rather thought provoking. The book revolves around Kim Ji-Young who is a married millennial woman with deteriorating sanity after facing lifelong misogyny.

kim ji young

Almond - Won- Pyung Sohn, translated by Sandy Joosun Lee

RM followed by Suga and J-hope were seen reading this book on In The Soop season 2 which is BTS’ variety show. The book is about Yun-Jae, a boy who has a peculiar condition called Alexithymia. Because of this, it makes it difficult for him to feel emotions like fear and anger. And then there’s Gon, who is the absolute opposite of him and feels his emotions way too much. The crux of the story is the contrast between them.


Kitchen - Banana Yoshimoto

RM was spotted with this book in 2018 and recommended it to his fans during an interview. Kitchen includes two short stories about love, mothers, transsexuality, grief and tragedy. 


I Want To Die But I Want To Eat Tteokbokki - Baek Se-Hee, translated by Anton Hur

Baek Se-Hee is a young successful social media director at a publishing house but soon she starts seeing a psychiatrist for her depression. She records their conversations over a 12 week period and begins to disentangle her feedback and harmful behavior that keep her locked in a cycle of self abuse. The book became a bestseller and sold millions of copies after RM recommended it in an interview.


Human Acts - Han Kang, translated by Deborah Smith

Again, recommended during one of his live streams in late November 2017, Human Acts is set in 1980, Gwangju, South Korea. The book explores the aftermath of the Gwangju Uprising which dealt with violence, censorship and more through the lens of various narrators.

human acts

The Stranger - Albert Camus, translated by Matthew Ward

In 2016, RM expressed how he was inspired by Camus’ idea of brevity and conciseness in art. The book portrays ideas of philosophy and existentialism through the story of a man who shoots someone after his mother’s death.

the stranger

Demian - Herman Hesse 

A book that would give BTS fans so much insight and understanding into BTS’ 2016 WINGS album. RM was highly inspired by this book and hence we see glimpses of it in so many of the lyrics from the album. He was seen reading the book backstage during a music video shoot in 2015 and all the BTS members have read it as well. Demian is heavily spiritual and explores self-realization. The protagonist, Sinclair finds his true calling in life with the help of his classmate Max Demian.


Please Look After Mother - Kyung-Sook Shin

RM and V discussed the book briefly in one of their live streams and V revealed that this book was actually recommended to them by a fan. The story moves you with its emotions as it is based on the story of So-Nyo, a woman who got separated from her husband at a train station. Her family searches for her while recalling their memories with her and how they took her for granted.

please look after mother

Metamorphosis - Franz Kafka 

Metamorphosis tells the story of a man who unexpectedly wakes up as an insect and faces feelings of alienation and the behavior of people around him. RM recommended this book back in 2017.


The Soul of a Tree: A Master Woodworker’s Reflections - George Nakashima

This is the autobiography of one of RM’s favorite woodworkers, George Nakashima. RM owns several pieces made by him and his family. In the book, George Nakashima reflects on his journey from Paris to Tokyo to Pondicherry in his search for the meaning of life and how he began to work with Timber.


1Q84 - Murakami

RM has often expressed that he is a big fan of Murakami’s work. He also loves some of his other works like Norwegian Wood, Kafka on the Shore and Killing Commendatore. In a press conference for BTS’ album, ‘Love Yourself: Her’, he mentioned that the song ‘Sea’ is inspired by 1Q84. It is a dystopian novel that takes place in the year 1984 in Tokyo. It follows Aomame and Tengo whose lives become intertwined as they navigate a world that is subtly different from the one they know. They find many discrepancies in it and the ‘Q’ in 1Q84 stands for a question mark.


Familiar Things - Hwang Sok-Yong, translated by Sora Kim-Russell

We all know Seoul, the capital of South Korea but not many of us know about the outskirts of the city where a place called Flower Island exists. Contrary to its name, Flower Island actually resides people who are driven out of the metropolitan city due to poverty. Bugeye, a 14 year old boy arrives here with his mother, after his father’s detention in a so called government ‘re-education camp’. It explores the dark side of modernisation through the eyes of the protagonist. 

familiar things

Which of these books would you want to read ASAP? Let us know in the comments below!

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RM Of BTS Kim Ji-Young almond I want to die but I want to eat Tteokbokki Murakami Soul of a Tree Books recommended by RM of BTS