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What I Talk about When I Talk about Running

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Perfect for the long distance runner

    First off, I am a big Murakami fan so this is already a little biased. Second, I am a avid marathoner and ultra-marathoner, so I'm even more bias. With that said, I of course really enjoyed this book. As other reviews have stated this is not a book for guidance on writing or running, it is simply a persons memoirs about running who also happens to be a writer. I found myself right there with him because I have had similar experiences and can easily relate to his tribulations. The background information about his life and beginnings as a writer were also very interesting. I found myself able to capture a clear picture of his persona and it gave all the books that I have read from him a great grounding. The one thing that I really took away from this book was a better understanding of balance in life. Murakami's idea of using running to balance out the adverse affects of his profession really resinated with my personal feelings about balance in my own life. Running is the focus of this book, so if you are a runner you will most likely enjoy the read, if not it, results may vary.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 15, 2014

    I have this theory that goes like this: sometimes we find books,

    I have this theory that goes like this: sometimes we find books, and sometimes books find us. Oftentimes I'll pick up a book, read a few lines, and quickly close the covers. I'll instinctively know that no matter how much I want to read it that that book's message was meant for a later time. And sure enough, years later, I'll spot the book on the corner of my shelf and be moved to pick it up, only to find exactly what I needed to hear. It's funny how life, and reading, works that way. Other times I'll find a book in the most random way - through a footnote or a random citation in an obscure periodical, for instance - and that book's message will be exactly what I needed to hear at that moment in my life. That was certainly the case with Japanese novelist Karuki Murakami's wonderful little book, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running.
    While training for the New York City Marathon Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami decided to write about it as well. What materialized was a unique memoir that discusses his twin passions of writing and running, and the interesting way they nurture and inform each other.
    I've been struggling as of late staying focused on the hard work of writing, so when I opened the book and read the following lines I knew that a message that I needed to hear had found me:
    "One runner told of a mantra his older brother, also a runner, had taught him which he's pondered ever since he began running. Here it is: Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional. Say you're running and you start to think, Man this hurts, I can't take it anymore. The hurt part is an unavoidable reality, but whether or not you can stand any more is up to the runner himself. This pretty much sums up the most important aspect of marathon running." If you feel called to creative work, and are struggling with finding the discipline necessary to create a body of work, you'll find this playful, oftentimes philosophical memoir food for your soul.

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  • Posted July 6, 2013

    Try to read this if you are runner!

    My staff at work recommended this book to me since I start to running for a few year ago. I am Japanese and I have read his book before. However It was not easy for me to fully understand what he has been trying to say.... But this book was funny and I totally got it how he felt when it comes to running. I finished in a two days! Now my goal for next year is to accomplish 10K or half-marathon (if possible)!

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  • Posted September 5, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Murakami in his own words

    For almost three decades Haruki Murakami has been providing his fans with a steady diet of quirky, imaginative and poignantly intimate novels and short stories. And yet, Murakami himself has written very little about himself, and has tried to keep his own life extremely private. So it is very enjoyable to finally get a glimpse of this author in his own words. Granted, over the years he had woven many elements from his own life into his stories, but it was never too easy to separate facts from fiction. In this book he has finally decided to talk clearly and forthrightly about some aspects of his writing career, but particularly about his passion for running. It turns out that he had picked up running at about the same time when he decided to become a novelist. He needed a physical activity that would compensate for his sudden switch to a more sedentary profession. Over the years, however, running had become a passion in its own right, but not quite an obsession. All the aspiring writers will find his analogies between long-distance running and writing, and novel writing in particular, very revealing and informative. According to Murakami, three indispensible things that any writer needs (in this order) are: talent, focus and endurance. Unsurprisingly talent is the most important of the three, but other two are required as well if one wants to become successful at writing. It is probably no coincidence that these three personal qualities are crucially important for long-distance running. The impression one gets from reading this book is that for Murakami running and writing reinforce each other.

    Even if you don't care about either writing or running in its own right, this book offers many interesting stories and reflection. On a very basic level this is a book about life, and how one particular individual managed to find his place in the world. In Murakami's case, we see a kind of life that many of us would be happy to trade our own lives for: living in some of the World's most desirable places (Cambridge, New York, Hawai'i, Tokyo, Greece), doing what you really enjoy doing without any external constraints, being able to indulge in your favorite recreational activity to the fullest. The book manages to elicit a certain level of envy, although I am sure that was not what Murakami intended to convey when he decided to write it. In fact, we get a sense of a person who bears his own success and fame with a remarkable poise and even humility. Murakami may claim that he is not very good at interpersonal skills, but to me at least this book confirms that I would enjoy meeting Murakami the person as much as I enjoy reading his books. An autobiography that achieves this is definitely worth reading.

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  • Posted December 2, 2008

    What an interesting book!

    [B]What I Talk About When I Talk About Running[/B] by Haruki Murakami. What an interesting book! Its non-fiction, basically his musings on long distance running, writing, his career, and life in general. Its short (4 discs). If you are a long distance runner (I am) this is a must read. He puts into words many feelings I have about running that I have never been able to articulate. If you like Murakami's work ([B]Kafka On the Shore[/B] is my favorite) then it's also a must read. He's a very different person then I would have expected based on his novels! I really enjoyed the story of how he became a professional writer. This one was a good one to listen to, the flow just seemed right for audio.

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