Monday, 13 June 2011
What I Talk About When I Talk About Running
Title: What I Talk About When I Talk About Running
Author: Haruki Murakami
Number of pages: 180
Started: 12 June 2011
Finished: 13 June 2011
There’s a wise saying that goes like this: A real gentleman never discusses women he’s broken up with or how much tax he’s paid. Actually, this is a total lie. I just made it up. Sorry! But if there really were such a saying, I think that one more condition for being a gentleman would be keeping quiet about what you do to stay healthy. A gentleman shouldn’t go on and on about what he does to stay fit. At least that’s how I see it.
Read the book here in slightly oddly laid out form.
In 1982, having sold his jazz bar to devote himself to writing, 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 settings ranging from Tokyo’s Jingu Gaien gardens, where he once shared the course with an Olympian, to the Charles River in Boston.
By turns funny and sobering, playful and philosophical, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running is a must read for fans of this masterful yet private writer as well as for the exploding population of athletes who find similar satisfaction in distance running.
What I thought:
I am a fan if Murakami, but not of running, so this book was appealing in some ways, but not in others. As it turned out, it was a very engaging read. Murakami has a very simple style that is easy to read. His reflections on his life and motivations was really interesting, and not having an interest in running was no bar to enjoying this book. I should also say that it not only covers running but various other aspects of his life, including his writing.
This is a very readable book, but I would recommend reading his fiction before reading this book, in order to get the most out of it. A quite delightful read in many ways.