Former president helps books break bestseller lists

One photo shows Moon Jae-in playing with his cat.  (Daughter of Moon Jae-in, Twitter of Moon Da-hye)

One photo shows Moon Jae-in playing with his cat. (Daughter of Moon Jae-in, Twitter of Moon Da-hye)

Former President Moon Jae-in’s latest book recommendation, Utmost and Personal Nepal, has rocketed to the bestseller list and once again demonstrates the former President’s tremendous influence on many people’s reading choices.

Co-written by Sujan Shakya and Hong Sung-kwang, Utmost and Personal Nepal is the eighth book he has recommended since leaving the Blue House in May.

“The greeting ‘Namaste’ means ‘The god in me respects the god in you,'” Moon tweeted Thursday. “‘Utmost and Personal Nepal’ is a good book to read if you want to know the Nepal of the Nepalese,” he continued.

In the book, Shakya presents the culture and people of Nepal from his own perspective, including his experience climbing the Himalayas with the Sherpas. Shakya, a Nepalese living in Korea, gained popularity through JTBC’s talk show Non-Summit, which featured a multinational cast.

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“Sales were flat when the book came out in March,” Lee Min-sun, CEO of Teumsaebooks, a publishing company founded in 2017, told The Korea Herald on Monday. “But in just four days, the book rose to #8 on the Kyobo Book Center for Humanities’ weekly bestseller list. It wasn’t on the list before,” Lee added. Kyobo Book Center is the largest bookstore chain in Korea.

(From left) “Highest and personal Nepal,

(From left) “Utmost and Personal Nepal”, “Days Spent with Metal Sparks” and “Harbin” (Teumsaebooks, Munhak Dongne)

Books recommended by Moon achieve a significant sales boost and make the bestseller lists of major bookstores in Korea.

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“Days Spent with Metal Sparks: The Journal of a Young Welder” by Cheon Hyeon-woo — Moon’s 7th recommendation on August 31, less than a week after it hit shelves — sold more than 10,000 in its first three weeks Times of his release, his publisher Munhak Dongne said on Monday.

Cheon’s essay is ranked #12 on Kyobo’s weekly best-selling poems and essays list as of Monday.

“Through the story of a young welder we can hear the real voices of youth – the sighs and hopes – that we need to know about this society. …And it’s interesting too,” Moon tweeted.

The essay is a collection of writings Cheon wrote for a local weekly magazine. Cheon describes in detail his childhood and daily life as a welder in Masan, South Gyeongsang Province, reflecting the voices of the provincial industrial workers.

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Moon’s other recommendations include: “Harbin,” a historical novel inspired by independence fighter An Jung-geun, by bestselling author Kim Hoon; “Survival of the Friendliest,” by anthropologist Brian Hare and writer Vanessa Woods on the theory of human nature; Kim Dong-kee’s Sea Power, Land Power on Korea’s geopolitics; and “Jjankkae-ism” by Kim Hee-gyeo, a book on anti-China sentiment in Korea.

Moon has often tweeted his summer vacation and holiday reading lists during his tenure, and has been sharing his daily life and book recommendations on social media since stepping down in May.

By Hwang Dong-Hee ([email protected])

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