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130 Reviews
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198 of 206 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Zen running, Zen writing
Haruki Murakami has run for his entire writing life, taking it up when he realised that the sedentary existence of a novelist was making him fat; he has eventually tackled more than twenty-five marathons, half-marathons aplenty, and even one gruelling 100 kilometre "ultra-marathon" whose odd spiritual benefits are described here in satisfying detail.

His simple...
Published on 10 Aug 2008 by emma who reads a lot

versus
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting short memoir of the novelist as runner
This is a strange little book, novella length, half memoir and half meditation on the act of writing, using running as an extended metaphor. The title is an allusion to a Raymond Carver short story (Murakami is, among other things, the Japanese translator of Carver) and, like a Carver character, Murakami has a knack of addressing his real concerns indirectly in the act of...
Published on 19 Nov 2010 by Paul Bowes


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5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it, 16 Jan 2009
I had never read Murakami before but I absolutely adored this book. I am a runner but the book is not just about running it's about life ... His little gems that make you sit back and ponder before reading on. I tried to make this book last, dragging out the last 4 pages. When I finished it (I was stuck on the tube at the time) I simply returned to the front of the book and started reading it again. I'm going to try his fiction but really don't know what to expect. This book for me was a dream... short, sweet, inspirational and honest.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I like running and I like Murakami but this book was truly a chore, 17 Mar 2010
By 
Tim MB (London, UK) - See all my reviews
I was really excited by this book as I'd read a couple of Murakami books and thoroughly enjoyed them. I'd heard someone speaking of this book as finally capturing the moment of zen that is running.

Perhaps it does, but if so it is within a few tucked away sentences. The idea that the thrill of running could be communicated by over a hundred pages of monotonic, drab descriptions of yet another marathon is just depressing - surely there's so much more to it? There certainly is to Murakami.

I think this book had a lot of potential. Occasionally it turns autobiographical which provides us with a slight relief and you learn a fair bit about running. Ultimately, however, there is only enough content for a chapter of a book.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars what I talk about when i talk about books, 4 April 2009
I'm a great belieiver that there are certain books that you read at certain times in your life that change your life! I remember some from my childhood. There is no doubt in my mind that this book is a book that has changed my life. I started running marathons at 33 and attributed it to a mid life crisis. This book makes sense of the running. Haruki murakami has a gift to be able to describe the sensations, thoughts and experience of this running as well as his self awareness in his motivations. Even if I was not a runner, this book would have profound implications for me.
To anyone struggling to make sense of middle age and of running or of writing, this book is revelationary and I higly reccomend it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Inside track, 30 May 2009
By 
Mark (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I had heard about this book some time ago and since I have taken up running recently I was drawn to it like a moth to a flame. Written in a simple spare style it is an elegant ode to the simple pleasures of running. But it is more than that, you also get thoughtful musings on life and a possible soundtrack to run to (though the Rocky Theme was a step too far for me).
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Murakami in his own words, 5 Sep 2011
By 
Dr. Bojan Tunguz (Indiana, USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
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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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great read for any running enthusiast, 18 Dec 2010
By 
GR3D (East Sussex, UK) - See all my reviews
A Writer a runner and a Jazz club owner, an individual aspect on running and his life, a great read and a refreshing outlook on the sport from an enthusiast.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wisdom for the short-distance reader, 12 May 2010
This is deeply personal exploration of the author's life, or at least the last 25 years in which he has been both a successful writer and runner. It weaves between accounts of running marathons, his need to run in his daily life and insights from his personal philosophy in the most wonderful way, shifting organically between writing and running, as if they were two sides of a coin. Indeed, he claims, the qualities he needs for writing are those he's learnt from running.

There are detailed descriptions of the physical trials he's voluntarily undertaken, and the narrative jumps around in a natural, contemplative "stream of life" way. It is written over a couple of years, as he looks backwards to understand the meaning of running in his life, and forwards as he comes to terms with ageing and decline of his abilities.

I found this an enjoyable, intriguing and thought-provoking little read. It is open, honest and full of self-accepting maturity and humble enquiry. It strikes right at the heart of how we organise our lives around what we value, or fail to. I've not had much chance, in my life, to speak to mature, insightful individuals who have been successful at what they pursued. So I found this immensely quenching for thirst I'm not sure I knew I had: wisdom on running a life.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended to me as I would recommend to you!, 24 May 2014
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This review is from: What I Talk About When I Talk About Running (Kindle Edition)
A truly inspiring read!
I have finished the book with a broad smile and thought of my next run tomorrow......
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5.0 out of 5 stars Worth to read!, 9 May 2014
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Great book! It's not only about running but about life, which makes it even more interesting. Really good one for everyone.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Different from most other Murakami works, 4 April 2014
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This review is from: What I Talk About When I Talk About Running (Kindle Edition)
OK, so I like Murakami's work - have most of them in either ebook or physical book form and I'm a runner too - though not to the levels that he obviously runs at - so it sort of made sense to give this one a go. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but the short chapters each of which describe various aspects of training, running races and some of the 'back story' of his life were all things I could relate to, so yes I enjoyed it.

If you're expecting some of the more esoteric aspects of Murakami's writing you'll be disappointed. If you're expecting some magical insight to make you a better runner then likewise. Actually, I did find one that helped me personally but I won't spoil that for you! But as an easy to consume set of "stories" about different aspects of a person's life with an underlying running "theme", I think you and this book will get on well.
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