37 Book Recommendations From Your Favorite K-Pop Idols

by Ricardo Johnson

  1. Books
·

Posted on Apr 7, 2022

Considering how busy the average idol is, any book they take time out of their schedule to read has a pretty good chance of being worth picking up.

So with that in mind, I went digging to find out which books keep our fave performers entertained in their downtime…

1. RM of BTS: A Bigger Message: Conversations With David Hockney by Martin Gayford

View this video on YouTube

BANGTANTV on YouTube / Via youtube.com

BTS’s leader is known for his intellectual and cultural pursuits, so it comes as no surprise that he was spotted reading this book, described as “a record of a decade of private conversations with art critic Martin Gayford," in which David Hockney "reveals via reflection, anecdote, passion and humour the fruits of his lifelong meditations on the problems and paradoxes of representing a three-dimensional world on a flat surface.”

2. Irene of Red Velvet: Kim Ji-young, Born 1982 by Cho Nam-joo

View this video on YouTube

Dingo Story on YouTube / Via youtu.be

In a surreal case of life imitating art, the book about a woman’s experiences of everyday sexism caused controversy, with many of Irene’s male fans cutting up and burning posters and photocards of the idol in disgust at her “feminist leanings.” The book, which became the first million-selling Korean novel since Shin Kyung-sook’s Please Look After Mom in 2009, follows an average young woman in Korea who struggles with sexist experiences and the expectation and reality of quitting her job to become a stay-at-home wife and mother. She later struggles with mental illness, and we see her “psychic deterioration in the face of rigid misogyny.”

Heralded as a book that reignited the feminist movement in South Korea, many celebs in the country have spoken out about their positive thoughts on the book, including RM of BTS, comedian Noh Hyung Chul, actors Park Shin Hye and Hong Eun Hee, and Girls’ Generation’s Sooyoung, who was "blamed" for influencing Irene’s decision to read the book! You can hear Sooyoung talk about it around 1:17 in this video, in an episode she titled "1990 Choi Soo Young" in homage to the book.

3. Got7’s Jinyoung: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Head and shoulders portrait of Jinyoung, with wavy center-parted bangs and a turtle neck with a striped blazer over it

The Chosunilbo Jns / ImaZins via Getty Images

Got7’s Jinyoung is an avid reader and recommended this romantic yet heartbreaking book to fans. The story follows Hazel, who lives with a diagnosis of terminal cancer and knows she won’t live to old age. However, when a new boy shows up at her support group, her story takes an unexpected turn.

In a 2014 interview, Jinyoung revealed that his motto is a quote from The Fault in Our Stars: “That’s the thing about pain. It demands to be felt.” He has also recommended Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, a book notorious for making readers bawl, so I think any recommendations from him should come with a free pack of tissues from now on!  

4. Got7’s JB: Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami

JB holds a microphone to his mouth with a sign on it saying quot;KBS entertainmentquot;; he has floppy black hair that brushes his eyebrows and wears a long dangling silver earring in one ear

The Chosunilbo Jns / ImaZins via Getty Images

Got7’s Jaebum was spotted reading Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami, not long after Jinyoung recommended Norwegian Wood by the same author. This book has also been shouted out by RM of BTS, Jae of Day6, and Jisoo of Blackpink.

Kafka on the Shore follows the story of 15-year-old Kafka Tamura, who runs away from his father to find his sister and mother, and aging Satoru Nakata, who has a strange ability to talk to cats!

5. Suga, Jin, RM, and J-Hope of BTS: Almond by Sohn Won-Pyung

RM sits on a picnic bench by a river, reading with a coffee and a packet of gummy sweets

Jung Hyun Ran on Dailymotion / Via dailymotion.com

The BTS Hyung line were all spotted carrying this book around in one of their reality shows, leading to a sudden skyrocket in sales of the novel.

The book follows Yunjae, who was born with a brain condition called alexithymia, which makes it hard for him to feel emotions like fear or anger. He’s never had any friends, but he lives a content life with his mother and grandmother, who coach him in social cues, leaving Post-it Notes around the bookstore they run to remind him how to behave.

However, one Christmas Eve, a shocking act of violence leaves him totally alone in the world. Struggling with his immense loss, Yunjae develops an unexpected bond with a troubled new kid at his school, and slowly begins to open up to people, leading him into a new life he could never have previously envisioned for himself.

6. IU: Demian by Herman Hesse

IU wears a turtleneck and plaid jacket; her hands form a heart shape in front of her, and she smiles with her long dark hair behind her shoulders

The Fact / ImaZins via Getty Images

IU has recommended Demian by Herman Hesse. The book is described as a “brilliant coming-of-age novel about the spiritual and psychological growth of a young boy who detaches from and revolts against this hell of superficial ideals of the world of appearances and eventually awakens into a realization of self,” and has seen a surge in popularity in recent years despite its 1919 publication date.

This book has also been recommended by Shinee’s late Jonghyun, as well as band leader Onew. RM of BTS said the book was the inspiration for the band’s “Wings” era.

7. Jisoo of Blackpink: Carol by Patricia Highsmith

Rose walks away from a building at night, with is lit up with a neon saying spelling the word quot;Carolquot;

BLACKPINK on YouTube / Via youtube.com

Originally published as The Price of Salt in 1952, the book has since been adapted into a movie with Rooney Mara and Cate Blanchett. The author initially published the book under the pseudonym Claire Morgan, as she didn’t want to be labelled a “lesbian-book writer” and pigeon-holed into only writing lesbian stories from then on, as she didn't know if the inspiration would strike her again.

Jisoo recommended the book to fans, and some speculated that she'd recommended the book to band mate Rosé, as her music video features a neon sign saying “Carol” in the background (pictured). 

8. Yeri of Red Velvet: Confessions by Kanae Minato

Yeri smiles, her hair wavy and tucked behind her ear on one side; she holds a microphone and looks to be standing onstage

The Fact / ImaZins via Getty Images

Yeri is known to be a bookworm, reading a wide range from romance to psychological thrillers. She’s recommended several books, including the dark tale Confessions by Kanae Minato, which follows a teacher who takes revenge on two 13-year-old students after they murder her daughter.

9. Jonghyun of Shinee: The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien

Jonghyun smiles, with band mate Taemin to his right and Minho to his left.

The Chosunilbo Jns / ImaZins via Getty Images

Jonghyun often mentioned books he had been reading, and fans compiled a list of his recommendations. Amongst these was the revered fantasy novels The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien. You can find more of Jonghyun’s recommendations here.

10. Jaehyun of NCT: Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond

181229 Yeongdeungpo Fansign — #JAEHYUN - Pls recommend me a book! JH: A book? Ah but I’ve not finished reading everything yet... I’m still in the midst of reading it... 총균쇠 (Guns, Germs, and Steel)... It’s sort of like a history book~

05:12 AM - 30 Dec 2018

@jaehyunbom__ on Twitter / Via Twitter: @jaehyunbom__

At a fan signing in Yeongdeungpo, Jaehyun recommended the book, describing it as a “sort of history book” and advising that it was best to read bit by bit in chapters as it’s quite a hard read.

11. Kai of Exo and SuperM: The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino

Kai wears a backward red baseball cap over his blonde hair; a subtitle overlay says, quot;Kai#x27;s choice: Suspect X#x27;s Dedicationquot;

yupavadee suksawat on YouTube / Via youtube.com

Kai owns all of Japanese author Keigo Higashino’s works, which he discovered via The Devotion of Suspect X. He described it as a “perfect novel” that got him “addicted to Higashino’s works.”

The Devotion of Suspect X is a detective novel, following Detective Kusanagi of the Tokyo Police as he tries to solve the most puzzling and mysterious case he has ever encountered.

12. Kino of Pentagon: We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

@kino_ptgn on Instagram / Via instagram.com

On his radio show “Kissing Booth,” Kino recommends songs and books. One recommendation he's given is We Are Okay by Nina LaCour, an LGBT book described as “an achingly beautiful novel about grief and the enduring power of friendship.”

13. Jungkook of BTS: I Decided to Live as Me by Kim Sooh-yun

In celebration of #JungkookDay, today we highlight one of his book recommendations! In Bon Voyage 3 in 2018, Jungkook was spotted with the book "I Decided to Live as Me" by Kim Soohyun 📖 #JK #JUNGKOOK #방탄소년단정국 #전정국 @BTS_twt

03:51 PM - 31 Aug 2021

@JooniesLibrary on Twitter / Via Twitter: @JooniesLibrary

In Bon Voyage Season 3 back in 2018, Jungkook was spotted with the book, which contains illustrated essays about finding yourself and your identity, and learning to love yourself — quite appropriate considering he would have been reading it during the band’s “Love Yourself” era!

Jay B of Got7 also posted this book on his Instagram stories.

14. Kyuhyun of Super Junior: Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari

Yesung: I saw that Kyuhyun read a book 'Sapiens' and it's like the amount he read didn't increase and I even saw him falling asleep with that book AHAHAHAHAHAHHAHA

10:53 AM - 11 Jun 2020

@KyuhyunFacts on Twitter / Via Twitter: @KyuhyunFacts

OK, fine, I’m not sure I can call this one a recommendation since bandmate Yesung actually said he saw Kyuhyun reading Sapiens before bed — but he didn’t see him make any progress other than to fall asleep with the book! So maybe he’d recommend it as a sleeping aid?!

15. Juyeon of the Boyz: Prism by Sohn Won-Pyung

Twitter: @juyeonbookshelf

Juyeon has recommended the lesser known book Prism by the author of Almond, mentioned farther up the list as a recommendation from half of BTS! Prism is described as a story about men and women in their 20s and 30s making peace with the world and themselves, the complexity of human relationships, and how coexistence can both complicate and heal a person’s life.

16. Kanghyun of ONEWE: Perfume by Patrick Süskind

Kanghyun onstage with a guitar

The Chosunilbo Jns / ImaZins via Getty Images

Kanghyun loves to read — in fact, you can find a list of books he’s recommended here. One book of many he’s read and recommended is Perfume, which follows a young man obsessed with scent who becomes enraptured by the idea of the “ultimate perfume” — the scent of a beautiful young virgin. A tale of “murder and sensual depravity,” according to Goodreads!  

It’s also said that VIXX’s “Scentist” music video is based on this book, which makes the MV a lot creepier if you think about what’s implied to be in those little red bottles now...

17. V of BTS: I Am Home but I Still Want to Go Home by Kwon Rabin

🐻: I recently started a book. It's called "I am home but I still want to go home". It has a lot of comforting and relatable messages. I only read the cover though.

08:29 PM - 01 Dec 2020

@blackxagustd on Twitter / Via Twitter: @blackxagustd

V’s Midas touch meant that the Japanese version of the book became a bestseller in Japan shortly after he mentioned it, and then an Indonesian version was published due to the sudden demand.

V mentioned in a Grammy Museum interview that he was reading the book, which explores the idea of “home,” and how it may not be a building but instead a haven made up of people, experiences, and more. It also deals with feelings of emptiness, loneliness, and heartbreak.

V describes it as having a lot of comforting and relatable messages, then quips, “I only read the cover though,” prompting Jimin, Jungkook, and Jin to laugh and J-Hope to shake his head and say, “Wow” incredulously!

18. Yuta of NCT: Lizard by Banana Yoshimoto

Yuta holding the book Lizard by Banana Yoshimoto

NCT I127 on VLive / Via vlive.tv

In the last episode of Limitless Room, Yuta wanted to read Lizard by Banana Yoshimoto to fans. A collection of short stories, this book explores themes of time, healing, and fate, blending traditional Japanese culture with contemporary pop culture. 

19. Wonwoo of Seventeen: The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle

here's a list of recommended books by wonwoo; i trans-ed titles using naver so it might not be accurate credit: https://t.co/yMFrFqiKMP

07:41 PM - 05 Feb 2017

Twitter: @wonuric

Wonwoo seems to enjoy the classics, with a fan-made list of his book recommendations including the Sherlock stories as well as Shakespeare’s Othello, Hamlet, King Lear, and Macbeth. He also enjoys Me Before You, like Got7’s Jinyoung.

20. Seohyun of Girls’ Generation: The Gift of Acabar by Og Mandino

@seojuhyun_s on Instagram / Via instagram.com

Seohyun recommended this story, described as an “enchanting parable.” The story follows Tulo, who just wants some warmth and light to sustain him and his sister. Star Acabar floats down in Tulo’s kite, and teaches Tulo to live at peace with himself, and the power of adversity and perseverance.

In an attempt to dish dirt on Seohyun's girl group, Dispatch followed her for weeks to try to get photos of her doing something scandalous, but they gave up when they continually found her tucked away in a cafe, reading!

21. Suho of Exo: Hector and the Search for Happiness by François Lelord

Suho smiles at the camera with floppy hair falling into his eyes; in the background, there are fans taking photos of him

Han Myung-gu / WireImage

This story is led by Hector, a successful young psychiatrist who is great at treating patients in need. However, he sees a lot of people who have no health problems, but are deeply dissatisfied in their lives, and he struggles to help them. 

Hector sets off around the world to see what makes people happy and unlock the secret of true happiness to share with the people he’s pledged to help.

22. Hongjoong of Ateez: Sauve-moi by Guillaume Musso

Hongjoong is reading a book from a very famous french novelist, Guillaume Musso. The title is "Sauve Moi" (save me/구해줘). #ATEEZ

08:05 AM - 21 Sep 2020

@yunhoni on Twitter / Via Twitter: @yunhoni

Hongjoong told fans about this book, also known as A Mix-Up in Heaven, which follows Parisian Juliette and New Yorker Sam who meet by chance and seek comfort with one another following their own perceived failings — Juliette believing she will never get her big break as an actor, and Sam blaming himself for his wife’s suicide.

The two spend a weekend together, and as Juliette leaves to head back to Paris, her plane explodes. However, their story is far from over…

23. Onew of Shinee: Where Will We Live by Yoo Hyun Joon

Onew in a smart suit with a coat over it, looking to be at a red carpet event

The Chosunilbo Jns / ImaZins via Getty Images

Also known as Where to Live, Onew describes it as “a book about understanding architecture as well as how people’s minds change and evolve.” Changmin of TVXQ recommended What Is the City We Live In? by the same author.

24. Dami of Dreamcatcher: The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

@00ld_ami on Instagram / Via instagram.com

Dami was spotted reading this book at the Idol Star Athletics Championships. The story is about Luna, raised by a witch called Xan, who must figure out how to handle the magical powers she was accidentally given before it’s too late.

Dami also has a super-cool book bag that I totally want!

25. Yoohyeon of Dreamcatcher: Adventures of the Bad Guys by Kwak Eun-young

26. Hyerim of Wonder Girls: How to Talk to Anyone by Leil Lowndes

Hyerim says she enjoys self-development books that allow her to become a better person and learn the things she feels she needs to know before turning 30. She described How to Talk to Anyone as a “life-changing book” on Lim’s Diary on YouTube, where she also recommended Shakespeare, saying his works teach readers a lot about human psychology, emotions, and relationships.

View this video on YouTube

Lim's diary on YouTube / Via youtu.be

Hyerim says she enjoys self-development books that allow her to become a better person and learn the things she feels she needs to know before turning 30. 

She described How to Talk to Anyone as a “life-changing book” on Lim’s Diary on YouTube , where she also recommended Shakespeare, saying his works teach readers a lot about human psychology, emotions, and relationships.

27. Minhyun of NU’EST: The Unwinding of the Miracle by Julie-Yip Williams

Minhyun was asked what book he read recently and he said it's called "Even if that shining light all disappears." He brought it from his bedside table because he's been reading it before going to bed. He said it was a fan gift :) #뉴이스트 #NUEST #민현 @NUESTNEWS

01:17 PM - 07 Feb 2021

@Melodia_Muse on Twitter / Via Twitter: @Melodia_Muse

The Korean title is Even if That Shining Light All Disappears, and Minhyun said he reads it before bed and keeps it on his bedside table. The book is a memoir of a young mother facing a terminal diagnosis, which begins as a chronicle of an imminent death and transforms into a legacy of Julie’s life with a powerful focus on living and its meaning.

28. Hongseok of Pentagon: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Yang Hong-seok: "my favorite novelist is Paulo Coelho" THANK YOU. Age is no barrier; It's a limitation you create on your mind

04:00 PM - 28 Sep 2018

KBS, @paulocoelho on Twitter / Via Twitter: @paulocoelho

Hongseok said Paulo Coelho is his favorite author, and he enjoys reading in different languages. Hongseok even got a Twitter shoutout from the author when he expressed his love of his works!

29. Changmin of TVXQ: Food Is Common Sense by Yoon Deok

@changmin88 on Instagram / Via instagram.com

Changmin is quite the bookworm — in fact, there’s a whole Twitter thread of his recommendations here. Food Is Common Sense looks at the history of food and its origins, exploring how it has evolved through time and even entered the dictionary.

30. Go Won of Loona: Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

MOMO X on VLive / Via m.vlive.tv

Go Won recommended this book on “Momo Books,” alongside Becoming Okay by Ahn Song-yi and Kim Yobi’s poem “Courage.”

31. Jae of Day6: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Anyone got any good book recommendations?? Want to get back into reading. My favorite books are catcher in the rye and the perks of being a wallflower. Also really like Murakami books. Looking for a tear jerker.

02:06 AM - 10 May 2018

@eaJPark on Twitter / Via Twitter: @eajpark

Jae says his fave books include The Perks of Being a Wallflower, The Catcher in the Rye, and Murakami books. He also asked for tearjerker book recommendations on Twitter!

32. Tiffany of Girls’ Generation: Dear Girls by Ali Wong

Tiffany shared a stack of her fave books on her Instagram stories, with one being Dear Girls, which she lauded for its Asian American representation and talked about the importance of seeing and supporting more of it in popular culture.Her stack also included Pachinko by Min Jin Lee, If I Had Your Face by Frances Cha, Becoming by Michelle Obama, and more. She also said she enjoyed fantasy books growing up, such as The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia. 

View this video on YouTube

WGSNSDFX.COM on YouTube / Via youtube.com

Tiffany shared a stack of her fave books on her Instagram stories, with one being Dear Girls, which she lauded for its Asian American representation and talked about the importance of seeing and supporting more of it in popular culture.

Her stack also included Pachinko by Min Jin Lee, If I Had Your Face by Frances Cha, Becoming by Michelle Obama, and more. 

She also said she enjoyed fantasy books growing up, such as The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia. 

33. Junhoe of iKon: The Black Leaf in My Mouth by Ki Hyongdo

@juneeeeeeya on Instagram / Via instagram.com

A poetry collection with melancholy overtones, the author tragically died from a stroke as he prepared to publish the collection. Junhoe shared images of the book and a highlighted passage on his Instagram.

34. GFriend: Le Papillon des Étoiles by Bernard Werber

Many fans believe the band’s “Navillera” MV is inspired by this French novel, due to similarities in the lyrics and the book’s story. The book is also known as The Butterfly of the Stars, so fans speculate that there’s another connection — “Navi” means “butterfly” in Korean, and of course, the song is called “Navillera.”

View this video on YouTube

1theK on YouTube / Via youtube.com

Many fans believe the band’s “Navillera” MV is inspired by this French novel, due to similarities in the lyrics and the book’s story. The book is also known as The Butterfly of the Stars, so fans speculate that there’s another connection — “Navi” means “butterfly” in Korean, and of course, the song is called “Navillera.”

35. The8 of Seventeen: The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle

@xuminghao_o on Instagram / Via instagram.com

The book focuses on centering ourselves in the present moment, leaving our analytical mind and the ego behind in order to find joy and our true identity. He spoke about the book on Weibo Live.

36. Mingi of Ateez: I Have a Secret by Yoru Sumino

#밍프할래 : mingi said that a book he’s been reading is “i have a secret” by yoru sumino :0 wow he must rly like that author bc he has read “i want to eat your pancreas” and he also recommended “i had that same dream again” to an atiny :0

11:48 AM - 02 Sep 2021

@atzhye on Twitter / Via Twitter: @atzhye

Mingi has recommended I Have a Secret, a light novel by Yoru Sumino that follows five high school classmates with buried secrets. As their paths cross as they grow up, they might begin to loosen the hold over those secrets...

37. Hyunjin of Stray Kids: Harmless Person to You by Choi Eunyoung

HYUNJIN READ A BOOK CALLED “harmless person to you” AND YALL NEED TO KNOW WHAT THIS BOOK IS ABOUT I STAN AN INTELLECTUAL

08:18 PM - 22 May 2019

@choiheals on Twitter / Via Twitter: @choiheals

There doesn't seem to be an English translation of this book yet, but from what I can gather, this book looks to be a compilation of seven stories, focusing on "the tremors of the heart that arise and subside violently," looking at relationships throughout time, and reminiscing about the past. Shoko's Smile, by the same author, was translated into English fairly recently though, so maybe we can grab that one in the meantime!

Do you have any idol recommendations to add to this list? How many have you read from this list? Let me know in the comments!