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This chapter is updated by Wuxia.Blog
Translated by: ShawnSuh
Edited by: SootyOwl
Myung Joo Mu was an actor whose success had come after many years of obscurity. He had become increasingly popular after his role as the brother in the movie ‘Trace of a Bird.’
“You did great, Mr. Mu!”
After a guerilla interview, the actor exchanged thank yous with the interviewer at a restaurant in Hongdae. On his way to the restaurant, Myung Joo had a number of impromptu fan events. Although he still felt awkward on one hand, he recognized that having fans was something to be grateful for. There were still a crowd outside the restaurant waiting for him to come out. His daily life was now filled with unthinkable occurrences, and strangely, he was starting to have a hard time remembering how life as a no-name actor used to be. He was in a place where he was able to reminisce about his difficult past with a smile on his face. It couldn’t possibly be a bad change.
As he stepped out of the restaurant, the crowd of fans screamed at the sight of him, and the actor waved before getting into his car. While the manager started driving, Myung Joo closed his eyes after looking out the window at his fans rushing past it.
“A little bit.”
“That was a lot of fun! I think you’ll look great behind the screen.”
Myung Joo felt relieved almost instantly upon hearing the encouraging remarks from his manager. No matter how many times he went through it, the actor still had a hard time getting used to the the hectic schedule. Massaging this shoulders, he realized just how tense he was through the interview. After rotating his neck a few times, he reached for a book next to him, titled ‘An Insect Leaves No Trace.’ Written by Yun Woo, it was the book that the actor had been reading repeatedly. However, no matter how many times he read it, it was just as good as the first time. To him, Yun Woo was a great author, and the memory of their first encounter still remained fully intact in his mind. Despite being significantly younger than him, Yun Woo had had a mature vibe about him. ‘I wonder if that’s what happens to writers…’ Myung Joo thought to himself despite knowing full well that that was merely an unfounded assumption.
“That book again?” His manager asked, as if tired of seeing the actor reading the same book.
“What? It’s a good book.”
“I’m tellin’ you, Myung Joo. You’re obsessed.”
Then, as the car turned to the left, their bodies leaned toward the same direction.
“Well, I guess it’s understandable,” the manager said.
Myung Joo’s life had turned around because of Yun Woo’s book. That was what a lot of people thought anyway. Nevertheless, the actor had no intention of denying it. Yun Woo’s writing had a profound and deep impact in his life, even outside of his acting career.
“Considering how big of a fan you are,” the manager added.
“I do like him a lot, but that has nothing to do with why I read his books.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“It means I read them because they’re good books,” Myung Joo told his manager. In the actor’s mind, Yun Woo and ‘Trace of a Bird’ weren’t on equal footing. Strictly speaking, what had really impacted his life had been the book rather than the author. In other words, he had always had the choice to stop after reading ‘Trace of a Bird.’ However, every single book by the young author was a gem, each and every one of them impressive in its own way, which really made the actor look forward to the young author’s new book.
“Really? Does that mean you don’t like the author himself all that much?”
“Of course not, I’m a fan!”
“So, if I were to summarize, you just like everything about him.”
“All I’m saying is that I’m not reading his books just because I like him.”
“All right. OK,” the manager said as he stopped the car at a red light.
“What’s Yun Woo like in person?” the manager asked. Although Myung Joo had heard that question more times than he could count, the fact that the question was coming from his manager, who didn’t have even a remote interest in literature, made it feel like he was hearing it for the first time. It was highly likely that the manager didn’t know who Seo Joong Ahn and Dong Gil Uhm were, although he might have heard of Joon Soo Bong since he had been growing increasingly famous in the media. Rather than literature, the manager’s interests were something completely unrelated. He was incredibly knowledgeable about tools and civil engineering. On top of that, he was an excellent manager.
“Why do you ask?” Myung Joo asked. To which, the manager answered nonchalantly, “Well, it’s just that I hear about him everywhere these days. Yun Woo this, Yun Woo that. Now, people are raving about his short stories coming out. People tend to ask me a lot of questions about celebrities as soon as they find out what I do, and do you know about whom the second most commonly asked question is? Yun Woo. So, I started getting curious myself. Honestly, though, I don’t understand how people can get into books like that.”
As the release date approached, the fans grew even more anxious. Their wish was finally coming true: a piece that contained traces of Yun Woo’s life. Myung Joo was also one of those fans. Part of him anticipated a promotional interview, and although he pretended not to be excited, Myung Joo couldn’t deny that just the thought of the new short stories put him in a better mood almost instantly. However, none of that would answer his manager’s question in any meaningful way. With that, he gave the same answer to the question he had heard one too many times, long tired of both. Besides, the fact that he was talking to his manager didn’t really make a difference.
“If you wanna know about Yun Woo, it would be a lot quicker to read his books than to ask me.”
At that, the manager gave the actor a look as though he had heard some cliché moral lesson. No matter how stereotypical his manager found Myung Joo’s answer, however, the actor believed that reading Yun Woo’s books was the best way to know the young author. Similarly, Myung Joo believed that his manager would be able to understand why people were so enthusiastic about books once he experienced a book himself. In either case, the quickest and most efficient way to know about an author was to read their books.
“I don’t think I’ve ever read a book from cover to cover,” the manager said, confessing the reason why he couldn’t get into a book.
“But you watch movies for hours on end,” Myung Joo said.
“Movies are entertaining though. The fancy sound effects to all the fancy action sequences and the enormous movie set.”
“I can tell that you’re into fancy things.”
Speaking of fancy, Yun Woo was one of the figures that shone the brightest in the literary world. Thankfully, he seemed like an author who would fall within the manager’s preferences. Considering the manager’s personality, it was very likely that he would buy every single Yun Woo book in print as soon as he discovered what it was like to read a book written by Yun Woo.
“If you have trouble getting through long books, then start with short stories. There are different kinds of books out there. ‘River’ is probably Yun Woo’s most representative short story. It leaves you with a lasting impression. I think you’ll like it.”
“You think so? ‘River,’ huh? But I’m into things that are really intense though. Short stories aren’t typically known for their depth, are they? At least that’s my understanding of how they’re viewed anyway,” the manager said, tilting his head as if still having trouble grasping everything.
“You’ll find out after you read it,” Myung Joo said. Seeing his manager repeating the title of the short story to himself, the actor recognized that as a welcoming change and added, “If you’re into more intense things, then ‘Sound of Wailing’ is also a good choice.”
“‘Sound of Wailing?'”
“Although, in terms of immersiveness, you gotta go with ‘Language of God.'”
“That one’s way too long though,” the manager said. He also knew about the series. After all, it was quite famous by that point.
“In a sense, ‘River’ is more intense than ‘Language of God.'”
“Great. They sell all of ’em in bookstores, right?”
“I’ll just lend ’em to you. You can come in for a minute, and I’ll fetch them for you.”
“That’d be great!”
While he was at it, Myung Joo took his phone out in order to make sure that he was conveying accurate information to his manager.
“When was it that you met Yun Woo again?”
Although the manager’s voice lingered in the car, the actor was entirely occupied with the new information he had obtained.
“They’re holding a signing event,” Myung Joo said.
“With whom? You?”
“Whoa! Seriously? I didn’t know authors held signing events!”
Unlike the manager, who spoke calmly, Myung Joo was struggling to suppress his excitement. It was a signing event in celebration of the new book’s release. In other words, it was an opportunity for fans to get Yun Woo’s autograph on the day of the short stories’ release. Yun Woo had authored some of the most immersive books Myung Joo had ever come across. Although there had been times when he had wondered what the world would have looked like if Yun Woo hadn’t been an author, he was fully aware of how meaningless it was to think about such a thing. Yun Woo was one of the actor’s absolute favorite authors. Checking his schedule, Myung Joo made sure that he was going to be available on the day of the signing. ‘I have to be there,’ the actor thought to himself.
Upon arrival, Myung Joo brought the books out to his manager as promised. Although the bundle turned out to be quite hefty, the actor was certain that his manager would be able to read every single one of the books. Then, as he was getting in the car, as usual, the manager said to the actor, “You make sure to get some good rest, all right? Don’t even think about going anywhere.”
Myung Joo wasn’t the type to lie or go out of his way to go somewhere he shouldn’t. After seeing him out with a smile, the actor rushed into his house and started looking into the signing event on the internet.
“Pleasure to meet you, Mr. Woo.”
On the day of the signing, the branch manager of the store greeted the young author, reaching for a handshake, and Juho responded with a smile and a handshake. It was 8:00 a.m., and the store wasn’t opening for another hour and a half. Although the signing was planned to start after lunchtime, Juho had let his curiosity get the best of him and ended up arriving early. Due to the employees and store officials, the store wasn’t entirely empty. Still, compared to his usual experience in bookstores, it was significantly quieter. The store was rather large, and because of that, the surroundings grew quieter as the young author went further into the store. His new books were already on the display racks next to the cashier counter, where it could be easily seen by the customers.
“So! How do you feel holding your first signing event?” the manager asked. Although Juho didn’t really have any thoughts about it, he gave a sincere answer, “A little nervous, a little excited.”
“You know, I’ve seen countless signing events for authors up to this point, but I’ve never been more excited about any of them than for today. I hope you warmed up your wrists, Mr. Woo,” the manager said, warning the young author playfully. The signing was planned to last for several hours. Although it was bound to be physically demanding, it was also an opportunity for Juho to meet his readers. With that, the manager gave a tour of the store, particularly the sections that carried Juho’s books. Unlike most books, which were organized by genre and the year they had been published, his books were all combined into one section. As the young author looked intently at the books, the manager started raving about the current trends of the publishing industry, as if feeling awkward or itching to talk some more. From the most printed to the most popular genres, he seemed to be quite knowledgeable.
An employee called to the manager. After which, he asked to be excused and walked away with them. Although listening to the manager had been quite entertaining, Juho wanted to explore every corner of the store while he was there. Then, after coming across a book with a certain title, he picked it up from the shelf. It was a new book, and it had just been included in the store’s inventory. Although Juho had received his copy from his publisher, coming across a fresh copy at a bookstore before it was even open made it a different experience.
The title, ‘Alexandria,’ jumped out at the young author, especially with its gold-colored cover. Designed by Jung Eun Kong, the focus was on the aspect of abundance and prosperity. Juho thought back to the stacks of books next to the cashier counter. Seeing a stack of gold books was quite a sight to behold, even befitting the title of the book somehow.
With that, Juho walked toward the middle of the store, where the promotional banner with his face on it hung. It was the space designated for the signing event. Feeling uncomfortable staring at his own face, Juho walked toward another spot, where domestic literature was being displayed. Following his instincts, Juho looked for ‘The Full Moon’ and found three copies in the shelf, back to back. ‘I wonder if this is what Seo Kwang’s bookshelf looks like,’ Juho wondered. Then, in order to see if there were other names he recognized, the young author started exploring other section in the store. Yun Seo Baek, Wol Kang, Kelley Coin, Seo Joong Ahn, Dong Gil Uhm, Dae Soo Na, Joon Soo Bong, Mideum Choo, and Geun Woo Yoo, whose books took a little longer to find than the others. It had been a while since Juho had been to a bookstore, and he was enjoying the peace and quiet to its full extent while it lasted. As he walked around the store, he ran into Nam Kyung, who was just coming out of a certain section. Then, looking as if he had been looking for Juho, the editor said, “Did you get to look around? We better get going. You haven’t eaten yet, right?”
“Nope,” Juho said, realizing how hungry he was.
“Would’ve been nice to do a quick interview before the signing,” Nam Kyung murmured as they were exiting the store, but Juho chose not to respond to it. When they were about to walk out of the glass door, they saw a group of twenty or so people on the other side, each with a book in hand. It was ‘Language of God.’ There was only one reason for why there would be a crowd waiting in front of a bookstore at that hour.
“People are starting to line up already!” Nam Kyung said, impressed.
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