We’ve often heard about how K-Pop idols make their fans want to be better people. Similarly, many fans also influence their idols in a positive way. From life advice to playlists, watchlists, and more, the relationship between fans and idols is a constant flux of cultural exchange. At times, this extends to book recommendations too! Park JiHoon is one such idol who enjoys sharing his fantastic book recommendations with his fans, MAY, who in turn also gift him with books to read!

This is Booked & Busy, a Kpopmap series where we explore the reading habits and book recommendations of your favorite idols, and the star of this week’s article is Park JiHoon.

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Park JiHoon’s Twitter

As the world knows, Park JiHoon is one of the most successful soloists in South Korea as well as a celebrated actor who played a prominent role in shaping the Hallyuscape in 2022 after the outstanding success of “Weak Hero Class 1”. In 2023, Park JiHoon is in talks for 2 webtoon-based K-Dramas: “Bastard” and “Fantasy Sonata”, and will be appearing in a main role in the upcoming film “Audrey”.

You can check out our introductions to the the aforementioned webtoon-based K-Dramas below!

What many new fans might not know about Park JiHoon is that he is also an avid reader! He’s often reading while waiting on set and has even expressed a certain fondness for space-related books. As for his reading style, JiHoon revealed on “Hello May” that he prefers to read at night because he is busy during the day, folds the pages instead of using bookmarks, underlines his favorite lines with highlighter, reads one book at a time, picks books to read based on the title and cover rather than opening the middle or looking at the back lest he finds spoilers, likes sipping on a cup of coffee while listening to music as he reads and notes down his reflections on the book while reading and so isn’t the type to lend his books to others.

Fun Fact: One of Park JiHoon’s favorite books, one that he has read more than once, “Taegukgi” was a gift from a MAY. Park JiHoon once shared that he loves the movie “Taegukgi” so he kept borrowing the book from the library, but because a MAY gifted it to him, he could read it repeatedly. He was also seen carrying it on the way to his schedules and reading it diligently.

If you’ve been trying to dip your toes into the wondrous world of reading or just want to get back into the habit, pick up one of Park JiHoon’s recommendations and you’ll thank yourself later. Moreover, if you’re a book lover but not a MAY yet, we’re certain that you will be after you check out his recommendations.

From intellectual works to poetry, light-hearted reads, and more, Park JiHoon’s book club is as fun and enriching as it gets. So, let’s dive into some of Park JiHoon’s book recommendations, shall we?

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1. “Cosmos” by Carl Sagan

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Random House

Genre/Type: Science

Keywords: Universe, Evolution, Environmentalism

About: In “Cosmos,” Carl Sagan takes the reader on a journey through the nature and history of the universe, from the Big Bang to the present day. He explores a wide range of topics in astronomy, physics, chemistry, biology, and other sciences, and he explains them in a way that is accessible and engaging to a general audience. The book also explores Sagan’s position on alien life, combining science and philosophy for a truly fascinating read.

Read Because: “Cosmos” is one of the best-selling science books of all time. It is a masterpiece that combines scientific rigor with a sense of wonder and awe about the universe. It has inspired generations of readers to explore the mysteries of science and to appreciate the beauty and complexity of the cosmos. Sagan’s writing style is poetic yet conversational and he uses analogies, metaphors, and anecdotes to help readers grasp complex scientific concepts. He also examines the societal and political implications of science, including the role of science in shaping human civilization and the dangers of scientific ignorance and dogmatism. Park JiHoon shared this book on one of his V-Live broadcasts but revealed later that it was a difficult read.

Get this book here!


2. “Alien Interview” by Lawrence R. Spencer

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Lawrence R. Spencer

Genre/Type: Speculative Fiction

Keywords: Conspiracy theories, Aliens, UFOs

About: “Alien Interview” is a book that claims to be a transcription of interviews conducted by the late Matilda O’Donnell MacElroy, a flight nurse in the U.S. Army Air Force, with an extraterrestrial being named Airl in 1947, shortly after the alleged Roswell UFO incident. According to the book, Airl was an officer, pilot, and engineer from a race of beings called “The Domain”. The interviews with Airl were conducted over a period of several weeks and were recorded in top-secret government documents known as the “Roswell transcripts”. The book also contains the author’s commentary as well as interviews with people who claim to have had alien encounters.

Read Because: This book is a must-read if you are interested in extraterrestrial life and aliens. Over the years, it has gained a cult following among alien enthusiasts and conspiracy theorists but is otherwise perceived as a controversial work of fiction. The book also includes illustrations and diagrams that are purportedly based on the extraterrestrial technology described by Airl. While the book claims to be based on real events and documents, there is no corroborating evidence for the claims made in the book, and the author has provided no verifiable proof that the interviews and transcripts actually took place. However, when taken as a work of science fiction, it is extremely compelling and enjoyable. The book includes detailed descriptions of alien technology, society, and history that may capture the reader’s imagination and spark their curiosity about the possibility of extraterrestrial life. Park JiHoon read this book because of his interest in space and aliens.

Get this book here!


3. “I See You Like I See a Flower” by Na TaeJoo

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Adarna House

Genre/Type: Poetry

Keywords: Love, Beauty, Nature

About: A collection of poems that explores themes of love, loss, hope, and the beauty in little things with vivid imagery and emotional depth. Each poem is imbued with profound meaning and loveliness that will both inspire you and, in a sense, understand you. The collection was curated after taking into consideration the choices of readers.

Read Because: Park JiHoon dedicated the poem “Gift” by Na TaeJoo, which appears in this collection, to MAY. Na TaeJoo is widely lauded and celebrated as one of the greatest poets of South Korea. Another poem appearing in this collection, “Grass Flower” is called the “Nation’s Favorite Poem” in South Korea. The anthology is warm and endearing, perfect to read when you’re having a difficult day or just before bed. The simple yet powerful and beautiful language makes it accessible and relatable to readers of all ages. In addition, if you’re trying to learn Korean, this book is a great place to practice your reading and comprehension.

Must Read:  4 Reasons Why You Should Stan K-Pop Girl Group PIXY: When Unique Meets Art We Get A Masterpiece

Fun Fact: This book was featured in the K-Drama “Encounter” featuring Park BoGum and Song HyeKyo. The poem “Grass Flower” was also read by Lee JongSuk in the K-Drama “School 2013”.

Get this book in Korean here and in English here.


4. “Tokio” by Higashino Keigo

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Genre/Type: Science Fiction

Keywords: Time travel, Family, Mystery

About: The touching story of Tokio, a man who travels back in time to meet his father, Takumi, and help him find his lover, who disappeared. Together, they grow through trials and tribulations that influence the present time, where Tokio is suffering from a terminal illness, and Takumi recalls the strange happenings of the past.

Read Because: Higashino Keigo has long been one of the most beloved Japanese authors in South Korea. “Tokio” is a work that combines Higashino Keigo’s strengths in various genres, from detective stories to family novels, into a “culmination” based on the concept of a time slip. It is always considered one of the best and must-read works for those who want to enter the world of Higashino Keigo. Fans noticed that Park JiHoon was reading this book because he was carrying it in his bag.

Get this book in Korean here! An English translation is not available at the time of writing.


5. “The Miracles of the Namiya General Store” by Higashino Keigo

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Yes24 / Yen On

Genre/Type: Slice of life, Magic Realism

Keywords: Life advice, Redemption, Second chances

About: Three delinquent teenagers, Atsuya, Kohei, and Shota, break into an abandoned general store called the Namiya General Store to lay low after a robbery. While they’re hiding, a mysterious letter drops from the store’s mail slot. The letter has come from the past and is written by a woman seeking advice. Our boys soon find out that the former owner of the store spent his last years offering advice to whoever asked, and they take up the mission to help the woman. Over the course of one night, these boys go on a miraculous journey of self-discovery and emotional growth that changes their lives forever.

Read Because: “The Miracles of the Namiya General Store” is one of the sweetest, most heart-warming, and inspirational works by Higashino Keigo. Through interconnected stories that come full circle by the end of the novel with the help of our notorious but endearing protagonists, this book does an excellent job of evoking familiarity and compassion in the reader. The philosophical import of the book is thought-provoking and leaves you feeling cozy and satisfied.

“The Miracles of the Namiya General Store” is a long-term best-seller in South Korea, and its success is often referred to as a phenomenon because it inspired young people who were impressed by the book to create counseling mailboxes on the street and anonymous communication spaces based on the Namiya General Store. Namiya counseling centers have also been set up in classrooms for high school students. Without a doubt, this book is a must-read.

Get this book in English here and in Korean here!


6. “Daddy’s Notebook” by Yang TaeSeok (Writing) & Jeon PilSik (Illustration)

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Genre/Type: Short Story Collection

Keywords: Family, Love, Friendship

About: 18 short stories about family – both the one we’re born into and the one we find, inspired by the author’s own experience of what he saw and heard during his lifetime. Each story is filled with hope and carries a poignant beauty that will make you appreciate your own friends and family anew. “Dad’s Notebook” is a bittersweet reminder to never take your loved ones for granted. This book is recommended reading for kids and elementary school students but holds relevance for readers of all ages.

Read Because: “Dad’s Notebook” is Park JiHoon’s “인생책” or his favorite book of all time. He adores it because it is a wonderful sketch of familial love and highlights the importance of community. It truly speaks volumes of how gentle and loving of a soul Park JiHoon is, and if you’d like to get to know him better, reading his favorite book might be a good start.

Get this book in Korean here! An English translation is not available at the time of writing.


7. “The Dignity of a Word” by Lee KiJoo

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Bull Books

Genre/Type: Essay

Keywords: Language, Humanity, Expression

About: “The Dignity of a Word” is a collection of essays that explores the beauty and power of language. It emphasizes the importance of words and how they may affect the listener as well as construct the integrity of the speaker. As such, words can be an insight into one’s heart and the key to getting closer to your loved ones.

Read Because: We live in an age where the power and influence of words are more significant than ever before. A word that leaves a person’s mouth enters a thousand ears and then comes out of ten thousand mouths. Turning the pages of this book one by one, readers will find themselves endlessly questioning their own words and worldview. As an actor and musician, words are a primary source of expression, so Park JiHoon reading this book to understand the true meaning and depth of language is even more impressive.

Get this book in Korean here! An English translation is not available at the time of writing.


8. “Emotions: Writing to Control the Mind” by An SooBok

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Genre/Type: Self Help

Keywords: Inner peace, Wisdom, Knowing oneself

About: A self-help guide that provides readers with practical advice on how to manage their emotions and improve their mental health. It does so by focusing on the importance of seeking wisdom from the lives of great thinkers, authors, and historical figures in order to navigate the challenges of modern society and find inner peace. It suggests that by studying the wisdom of those who have come before us, we can gain insight into how to live a wise and fulfilling life.

Read Because: By combining history and culture with modern life, An SooBok creates a relatable point of reference by which we can learn from the past and improve the present. Oftentimes, even though we know our history, we miss the lessons we can learn from it. With the help of this book, we can seek knowledge and understanding from figures like Machiavelli, Seneca, Tennessee Williams, Pascal, and more and apply it to our lives.

Get this book in Korean here! An English translation is not available at the time of writing.


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