In 1982, having sold his jazz bar to devote himself to writing, Haruki Murakami began running to keep fit. A year later, he'd completed a solo course from Athens to Marathon, and now, after dozens of such races, he reflects upon the influence the sport has had on his life and on his writing.
Equal parts travelogue, training log, and reminiscence, this revealing memoir covers his four-month preparation for the 2005 New York City Marathon and includes settings ranging from Tokyo's Jingu Gaien gardens, where he once shared the course with an Olympian, to the Charles River in Boston.
Funny and sobering, playful and philosophical, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running is both for fans of this masterful yet guardedly private writer and for the exploding population of athletes who find similar satisfaction in distance running.
©2008 Haruki Murakami (P)2010 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
"Hugely enjoyable...you don't have to have run a marathon to be captivated." (Sunday Telegraph)
"Murakami manages to set a course that takes in views of literature, sport and the uphill journey of ageing, all with a modest fluency that covers the ground without raising a sweat." (Independent)
"There can never have been a book quite like this memoir of running and writing before. In its self-contained way, it is nothing less than an inspiration." (Evening Standard)
"This charming little book is a winner from start to finish." (Independent on Sunday)
"Motivational, Insightful, Poetic"
I think my title says it all.
I couldn't stop playing this book - it just drifted over me, yet motivated me to lace up my shoes and get running.
A great read for any runner or endurance athelete.
"Good and philosophical but.."
..perhaps a bit to introvert and slow. It had me thinking of what I think about when I run. That's all well and nice. But the book became a bit boring in the second half.
"Talking to the converted"
I read a review of this in this week?s Sunday Times and had the great satisfaction of knowing straight away that the reviewer was not a reader of Murakami?s fictional works and had completely missed the point of What I Talk About.
This book - which is, in fact, a collection in the classic essay form, was written and released by the writer for his established readers. There can be no other interest in the minutiae of running routines and preparations, what is going through the mind, how the programme is structured, where the running took place, what the weather conditions were like, how the muscles hurt, how the relaxation took place and who was running alongside....other than to get to know the mind (and is that the soul) of Murakami.
To that end, the essays work perfectly, it is a one-way dialogue where the author sits and gives you insights which are, for once, not filtered through the narrative and invention of the story.....we certainly believe that Murakami runs every day and has done for the last 20 odd years, his achievements against public running events such as the NYC Marathon are verifiable, as verifiable as his descriptions of the waterfront in Boston. So, if they are verifiable they must be ?true,? and so easy to absorb.
But what if all the running is an invention - it can?t be, we trust Murakami and in this iteration we have a true, prosaic voice we can trust - he?s on Facebook and he gives lectures so he must be OK....so where does all that Johnny Walker and Sheepman stuff come from......?
A really enjoyable, absorbing and diverting read, so different from anything else Murakami and so the same as same as.
I didn't know what to expect from this book. As a casual runner who struggles to get motivated I was looking for a book that would get me back out there more often. This isn't so much that sort of book, but I did find myself entirely immersed in the author's philosophical musings on what it means to be a runner, what his training means to him, and his autobiographical story, all of which combine to make almost a meditation on life and running.
This book has clarified some of my own thoughts when I run, which unfortunately is still a too-rare occurrence. It has also made me want to seek out some of the author's other non-running related titles. Recommended for thoughtful runners and non-runners alike.
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