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

Opening words:

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.

Plot summary:

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.


anothercookiecrumbles said...

I read this book after only reading the one Murakami (Norwegian Wood), but quite enjoyed it. Like you, I'd recommend it.

Random Reflections said...

anothercookiecrumbles - it is a very readable book and coudl be enjoyed even without havign read any of his fiction. I just think it is better to read it after having at least read one of his novels because it puts his thoughts more into context (or maybe the readers thoughts about his reflections, if that makes sense).