her private life | book recommendations

by - 8:30 AM

Hello friends! I definitely fell off blogging in August and now September is almost over as well. While reading took the back seat for the last two months, my attention has shifted to "binge-watching" k-dramas - at least my very mild definition of binging. With that said, the post I wrote for MY ROOMMATE IS A GUMIHO is probably one of my favorites this year so I knew I had to make some more for the other dramas I have finished.

HER PRIVATE LIFE came out a couple years ago but I always struggled watching rom-coms alone so I never got past the 3rd episode. This time around, I watched it with my sister and she made sit through all the cringe-y and adorable moments with her and we made it to the end. The premise follows Deok Mi who's a head curator at a museum in Seoul. When the director's husband becomes involved in a scandal, she steps down and is replaced by Ryan Gold, a Korean-American adoptee who's renowned for his talent to judge a piece of art. The two get off on a rocky start but eventually warm up to each other as secrets from their past reveal themselves. Through it all, Deok Mi has to hide her other passion in life - being a fansite manager for K-pop sensation White Ocean's Cha Shi An.

Rather than making another book recommendation list based on the characters, I thought I'd try to recommend some of the books that are currently on my TBR for the rest of the year instead. I've been slacking on my reading as well and have so many "currently reading" stories that I'm in the middle of or wanting to start so here are just a few:

Sung Deok Mi - Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao

Deok Mi is what I'd define as a ultimate working woman - she's dedicated to her job, extremely professional and loved by her colleagues, and also has a healthy work-life balance. She's basically the role model I aspire to achieve because I currently have no work-life balance. While I haven't read Iron Widow yet, the story pays homage to China's only female emperor which is pretty admirable. Plus, Xiran Jay Zhao is one of authors whose boldness makes them stand out and you can't help but be in awe. I can see Deok Mi becoming a huge fan of the author and then falling in love with the story as well. As her character breaks barriers on the definition of being a working adult in her 30s and a professional fangirl, Iron Widow is breaking so many barriers in the YA genre.

Ryan Gold - Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr
Charismatic to the T and possibly one of my favorite male characters in a K-Drama, Ryan is truly top tier. Like many male leads, he's accustomed to the finer things in life and as an art critic, he definitely would have an appreciation for a story that combines elements of classical literature with modernity. Cloud Cuckoo Land has a little bit of interstellar travel mixed in with influences of Greek literature. The multiple POVs would keep him hooked throughout and even though this is a massive story I can see him finishing it one night if he puts his mind to it, just like his determination to answer the questions and join Deok Mi's fansite.

Nam Eun Gi - Jade City by Fonda Lee
Admittedly, Eun Gi annoyed me a lot at first with his character but we support the amount of GROWTH and maturing he did throughout the drama. One of his best traits was his display of constant support and love for this family and friends which can be defined as loyalty, also one of the key themes of Jade City. I've been putting off this book for an entire year now and with the finale releasing in November, it's finally time to declare fealty to the Kauls. Also as an Olympic judo champion, he also has the strength and dedication that makes him worthy of wearing jade.

Lee Seon Joo - Our Violent Ends by Chloe Gong
A K-drama is incomplete with a best friend and Seon Joo brings that role to life. She's supportive, funny, and has her own dash of dramatics that adds a bit of something extra to the story. I can't think of anything more dramatic than a Shakespeare play and I can already see her freaking out over Roma and Juliette from These Violent Delights. Lucky for her, the sequel is releasing soon as well so she can binge the entire duology and be utterly swept away in Chloe Gong's high stakes retelling of Romeo and Juliette. (Also the thought of her gushing about this to Deok Mi, I can picture it so clearly in my mind.)

Cha Shi An - A Clash of Steel by C.B. Lee

I couldn't not talk about the idol of the show. Shi An's character offered insight into life as a popular k-pop star from the exhausting schedule to obsessive fans, it can be overwhelming at times. His interest in art combined with his sunny disposition and love for this friends and family makes him even more lovable. Going off of covers here, I think he would be drawn to the stunning cover of A Clash of Steel and when finding out that it's a Treasure Island retelling, would be even more compelled to pick the book up. With his busy lifestyle, sometimes escaping on a pirate adventure is just what he needs.

Sindy - The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Another character whose growth is really surprised me, Sindy starts off as this stalker-y and almost petulant child. However, when she is able to channel her passions into something creative and fulfilling, she begins to mature and take responsibility for herself. Sindy's also got an eye of aesthetics of course, being another Cha Shi An fansite manager so I think she'd appreciate how gorgeously vivid the prose is for The Night Circus. I could imagine her convincing the rest of the team to create an exhibit based off the story and the visuals for that collection would be absolutely stunning.

Eom So Hye - You've Reached Sam by Dustin Thao
Quite possibly the most annoying character but also the comic relief of the show, Director Eom is what comes to mind when you think of an airhead. However, you slowly grow to sympathize with her and she does eventually try to be a better person. A book that I think would absolutely touch her heart and get her tears flowing would be You've Reached Sam. I've heard so many great things about Dustin Thao's debut and about the premise of a girl calling her deceased boyfriend would be sure to remind Director Eom to cherish her loved ones.

That concludes my list! This is probably the first book list in a while where The Bone Witch hasn't appeared as a recommendation though I do want to reread it this year (mentioning it at the end of the list doesn't count). I'm incredibly stoked to pick up all of these stories and now that I'm slowly creeping out of my 3-4 month reading slump I can't wait to jump back into the habit of reading.

If you've watched HER PRIVATE LIFE, what are some books you'd recommend to the characters? What are some books on your TBR for the rest of the year?

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