Hi everyone! Wow, it feels like it’s been quite some time since I’ve posted anything on this blog, even though it’s only been five days! I mentioned briefly in my last post that I’ve recently got back into NCT and WayV and honestly, it’s just taken over my life. I’ve gotten next to no reading done and I have instead become a fiend for finding good second-hand album deals on Depop (and getting myself embroiled in the whole KTown4U mess while I was at it!). So, today I am forcing myself to get back to blogging and, more importantly, reading, and I thought, what better way to do that than to blog about what has been taking up so much of my time!
I know that quite a lot of you are not Kpop fans but I am sure that despite that you might find some great queer books from this post that you might never have heard about before! And, if I’m really lucky, maybe you’ll decide to check out NCT and WayV while you’re at it! I decided to split this into two posts as I was having a hard enough time narrowing down my favourite NCT songs as is, so in this post you’ll see songs by the subunits NCT 127 and NCT U, and part 2 will feature songs by WayV, NCT Dream and a couple of solo/collab songs! Without any further ado, here are the recommendations!
So, of course it wouldn’t be an Althea Is Reading recommendation post without the very first one being a tricky comparison! Make A Wish is the title track of NCT U’s second full album, Resonance, and it’s honestly one of their best, most catchy tracks ever! The whole meaning of the song is what makes it a little difficult to compare to a book, but I’ve decided to pair it with Morgan Lee Miller’s Hammers, Strings, and Beautiful Things. Make A Wish is all about not wanting to wait any longer to be with someone and trying to tell them, basically, about how great it’d be if you were together. The music video also feels very opulent, particularly regarding the styling, and so I think a sapphic celebrity romance novel is perfect for this song (or as perfect as I can get!). Hammers, Strings, and Beautiful Things follows Blair Bennet, songwriter extraordinaire and the face of her new band, who are about to support world-famous popstar, Reagan Moore, on her upcoming world tour. Despite Blair dealing with the recent loss of her grandfather, and using drugs as her coping mechanism, sparks quickly begin to fly between the two women. If you liked Taylor Jenkins Reid’s Daisy Jones and the Six, I think you’ll really love this one!
This next song is another favourite off of NCT U’s second album – I.O.U. is a really sweet, more poppy song, that has a very wintery vibe and includes lines such as ‘The old memories flash by, Reminiscence ’bout you and me’, so of course I have to recommend a second-chance Christmassy romance novella to go with it! Her Christmas Carole is a book I read in December for the 12 Days of Queermas readathon and absolutely loved. It follows Jo and Carole in 1995 as two teens falling in love who, after tragedy strikes, end up going their separate ways, only seeing each other once a year, on Christmas Day. Twenty-five years later they get the chance to close the distance between them, and perhaps rekindle the romance they once had. I would say that Her Christmas Carole is a lot more melancholy than I.O.U., but they balance each other out and are perfect for wintertime!
So this final NCT U song, if you know my music taste well, then you’ll know I’m not a huge fan of ballads, so it comes as a huge surprise that Timeless, a ballad, is actually one of my top 5 NCT songs! Timeless is all about breaking up with someone but still having feelings for them and being too scared to say it out loud to them. Although Timeless is referring to a breakup in this sense, I think that Who I Was With Her is the perfect match for the song. Who I Was With Her follows Corinne who is desperately in love with Maggie Bailey, her rival school’s cross-country team captain and is hiding the fact that they are in a relationship and that she is bisexual. When Maggie dies, Corinne turns to Maggie’s ex for help, since no-one else knew about their relationship, and who is the only person who understands what Corinne is going through. Both the song and the book are almost guaranteed to make you cry at some point so my tip is to not consume both of them at the same time if you don’t want to be sobbing for hours on end!
The first NCT 127 song in this list is one of my first ever favourite NCT songs, and also their first hoe anthem – Baby Don’t Like It is arguably one of their kinkiest songs (Taeyong’s rap verse…am I right?) so of course I have to pair it with the 2021 release, Kink! Kink is a literary fiction anthology featuring authors such as Roxanne Gay and Brandon Taylor that includes stories about sexuality, desire, BDSM and, of course kinks, and features characters of varying sexualities and genders! I for one am so excited to read this book and also a wee bit smug that I managed to find the perfect one to match up with another of my top 5 NCT songs!
This next song is another fun, poppy, sweet song – in Elevator 127F they sing a lot about shyness and remembering falling in love, and looking out at the city is mentioned quite a bit too, so I had to pick the sapphic classic, Annie on My Mind to go with this song! Annie on My Mind follows Liza who, by chance, meets Annie at the Metropolitan Museum of Art one day and the two become fast friends, but slowly they start having real feelings for each other. This book is full of the shyness and awkwardness of first love, and the backdrop of New York city is perfect for this NCT song. This book is a sapphic staple for a reason and I highly recommend that you check it out!
The penultimate song of part 1, Highway to Heaven, is one of NCT’s most feel good songs – you can’t help but sing along to it when it comes on – and is also, despite how hard they try to deny it, all about sex! So, I decided to pick The Clinch by Nicole Disney as the sexual tension between the two main characters was so palpable and the book was just such a fun read that I had to pair it with Highway to Heaven! The Clinch is a lesfic sports romance set in the world of MMA fighting and follows Eden Bauer the world UFC featherweight champion as she comes up against cocky newcomer to the sport, Brooklyn Shaw. This book has received nothing but positive reviews and I honestly implore you to pick it up even if, like me, you know nothing about martial arts in the slightest!
For the final song of part 1, Welcome To My Playground, I decided to pick a book that has a similar vibe to me, rather than the lyrics matching the story. Welcome To My Playground is one of my absolute favourite NCT songs and the amount of serotonin it gives me is gonna end up putting my sertraline out of business! For such a fun, upbeat, happy song I decided to pick a book that I keep seeing described as being so heart-warming – Me, My Dad and the End of the Rainbow. This is another 2021 release, a middle grade this time, and it follows Archie whose parents have recently separated, yet Archie just wants all of them to be happy. When Archie’s dad comes out to him, Archie, alongside his best friends, decides to go to London Pride to see what he can do to make everything okay again! This sounds like the sweetest middle grade book about family, love and acceptance and I can’t wait to read it!
As I mentioned, this is only part 1 of 2, next time will be books recommended based off of my favourite NCT Dream, WayV and solo NCT songs! I’d love to know what your thoughts are on these books if you’ve read any of them (and what your favourite K-Pop songs are), and hopefully I’ll be back soon with another post! Stay safe!