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Books By Korean Authors To Cosy Up With This Autumn

Disclosure: This post does not contain any affiliate links, meaning I will not get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through the links below.

As summer 2023 fades into rainy days, falling leaves and darker nights, there truly is nothing more comforting than grabbing your favourite hot drink, a soft blanket and a brand-new read.

This autumn, we invite you to explore a selection of literary gems by Korean authors that promise to warm your heart and stir your soul.

1. Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 - Cho Nam-Joo

Recommended by: BTS’ RM

Image Credit: Amazon UK, Scribner UK

Step into the world of Kim Jiyoung, a seemingly ordinary woman born in 1982 - but don’t let the mundane birth year fool you. ‘Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982’ is like a time machine that takes you on an eye-opening journey through the life of an everyday Korean woman who just so happens to be an embodiment of every woman to have graced the earth.

From humble beginnings in the bustling streets of Seoul to hilarious mishaps of a young girl experiencing the world for the first time, we see Kim Jiyoung navigating the treacherous waters of school, work and family; all while trying to maintain her sanity in a society that expects women to be everything and everyone.

Overall, ‘Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982’ is the perfect blend of humour, satire and social commentary that will leave you questioning the world around you and celebrating the extraordinary in the everyday.

2. Please Look After Mother - Kyung-Sook Shin

Recommended by: BTS’ RM and V

Image Credit: Waterstones, Orion Publishing Co

Buckle up for a heartwarming and introspective journey in ‘Please Look After Mother’ that will make you laugh, cry and appreciate your mother like never before.

After Park So-nyo disappears in a crowded subway station, each chapter takes a different character’s perspective as her absence throws her family into chaos as they come to realise how little they truly knew about the woman who had been at the very centre of all their lives.

Secrets, love and unspoken sacrifices reveal themselves through multiple perspectives in this page-turner. Guaranteed to make you appreciate the everyday moments and the enduring power of motherly love, get ready for a tissue-worthy journey that reminds us all to cherish the unsung heroes living amongst us.

3. The White Book - Han Kang

Recommended by: Shinee’s Jonghyun

Image Credit: Waterstones, Granta Books

Regarded as a lyrical masterpiece by many, ‘The White Book’ takes you on a journey as author Han Kang works to uncover the many shades and meanings of white. But white isn’t just simply a colour: it’s a blank canvas for life’s stories.

In just 160 pages, Han Kang invites readers to delve into the depths of her own experiences, memories, dreams and emotions. An emotional rollercoaster in all the best ways, ‘The White Book’ offers a profound perspective on loss, grief and the fragility of life through an exploration of identity and existence.

As each white element becomes a metaphor and symbol, prepare to be enchanted and moved by this mesmerising exploration of human experience.

4. Love For Imperfect Things - Haemin Sunim

Image Credit: Amazon UK, Penguin Life

Haemin Sunim’s ‘Love For Imperfect Things’ can be summed up in one sentence: this book is like a warm and soothing cup of tea but for your soul.

In a world that often seems obsessed with the idea of being perfect, ‘Love For Imperfect Things’ is a delightful reminder that it’s our flaws that truly make us beautiful - and unique. Through a series of heartwarming stories, insightful wisdom, and beautifully illustrated drawings, readers are invited to have a giggle at their own mishaps, accept their insecurities, and find love in the most unexpected of places.

5. Lemon - Kwon Yeo-Sun

Image Credit: Waterstones, Bloomsbury Publishing PLC

Lemon’ follows an unsolved murder in a case known as the High School Beauty Murder, which has cast a long and dark shadow over Seoul. Seventeen years after the tragic event, the victim’s sister Da-on sets out to uncover the truth of what really happened.

Through changing perspectives, ‘Lemon’ explores themes of privilege, jealousy and trauma, amidst a criminal backdrop. Author Kwon Yeo-sun has perfectly crafted a gripping tale of enduring scares all in the pursuit of justice, ultimately revealing the profound impact of an unresolved tragedy on those left in its wake.

6. I Want To Die But I Want To Eat Tteokbokki - Baek Sehee

Recommended by: BTS’ RM, Seventeen’s S.COUPS

Image Credit: Amazon UK, Bloomsbury Publishing

In this part memoir, part self-help book, follow Baek Sehee along as she tries to answer the age-old question - Is it depression or just life being life? Stuck in a vicious cycle of feeling low, anxious, and relentlessly self-critical, hidden beneath a seemingly perfect facade of composure, Sehee wonders how she’s always able to summon tteokbokki cravings.

As the author bares her soul to her psychiatrist across 12 weeks of therapy, she shares actual conversations from her sessions in a way that has helped take a step in the right direction for addressing the taboo of seeking mental health support.

I Want To Die But I Want To Eat Tteokbokki’ stands as a reminder that even in our darkest moments there is always room for laughter, self-discovery, and the simple joys of comfort food.

7. Crying In H-Mart - Michelle Zauner

Recommended by: BTS’ Jungkook

Image Credit: Waterstones, Pan Macmillian

In ‘Crying In H Mart,’ author Michelle Zauner showcases her experience as the only Asian-American kid at her school in Oregon, all the while working through the motions of identity, family, grief, and the incredible wonders of Korean food.

As you’re whisked away to Michelle’s grandmother's cosy apartment in Seoul, readers are invited to delight in the magic of bonding over late-night feasts. As she grows up, moves to the East Coast for college, and dives into the restaurant industry, bear witness to her struggles in her evolving identity and the quest to find the life she truly wants.

But it’s her mother’s cancer diagnosis that reshapes her life, prompting a beautiful reckoning with her identity and heritage. Brimming with humour and heart Michelle’s storytelling shines through on every page, making ‘Crying In H Mart’ the ultimate book to cherish, savour and share.

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