Kim Young-ran, former Chief Justice that worked as a judge for nearly 30 years and became the first female Chief Justice and head of the Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission, is a bibliophile. She has a cultivated lifetime reading habit and becomes saddened when her time is compromised by screen time or Netflix. Your reporter met with Kim, who recently published an essay titled “Reading of the Times” at her research office at Ajou University on Oct 28.
Her love of books was at times bewildering to her fellow judge colleagues. Many asked her why she liked to read novels when she was a judge. She would reply: “Martha Nussbaum said that a judging on a case was like a reader reading a novel. This is because the work of a judge trying to understand the stakeholders involved in a case is not very different from a reader seeking to understand what is happening in a novel.”
In her book, Kim introduces books by Doris Lessing (1919-2013), such as the Golden Notebook and The Memoirs of a Survivor, that depicted feministic perspective on society. She also said that Kafka’s book “The Castle” portrayed a gloomy prediction on the bureaucratic world.
We live in a world where storytelling and information has been dominated by visual media and the Internet. Even Kim, who spent her childhood reading a book before she fell asleep, admits that she now spends time checking on her smart phone messenger or watching dramas at night. She is still, however, a strong advocate of books providing a unique experience that no other media can.