What I Talk About When I Talk About Running Paperback – 2 Apr 2009
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"There's a wandering, digressive, free-form quality to the writing - like improvised jazz - familiar to anyone who has read the novels, with their labyrinth plots, perplexed, solitary male protagonists, meaningful coincidences and dream-like sequences. The narrative voice here is as persuasive as in any of the novels, candid and jaunty, and you finish the book charmed by the simple, unaffected grace of Murakami"--The Observer
"Comical, charming and philosophical... an excellent memoir"--GQ
"[Murakami] says no-one can warm to a character like his, but when he talks like this, on the run, we keep pace and pay rapt attention"--The Times
"Murakami manages to set a course that takes in views of all literature, sport and the uphill journey of ageing, all with a modest fluency that covers the ground without raising a sweat"--The Independent
`the book has a Zen-like quality, and it's terrific'
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Overall it wont be to everyones taste but to me i enjoyed it, i just hope he releases an in depth book into his life.
Highly recommend to the reader interested in the subject.
As you would expect from a writer of his pedigree, a book about the activity he has pursued since 1982, running, is about much more that the non-runner/running-averse can get their teeth into. As the writer himself says in Chapter One: "running is both exercise and a metaphor." (p10) This philosophy is made apparent in the approach he has taken to writing and presenting this book, and he subsequently reveals much of his inner-self as reflected upon the choices he has made and those activities he has chosen to pursue.
This is not a brash book revealing a brash personality boosted by the buzz of running. No, it's a book about an individual constantly reinventing and fighting to find elements of a self that he is content to call his own. I think this is something we can all relate to, whatever lifestyle choices we make or have made.
Of course, as a runner, a reader of Haruki and a bit of a word-doodler, you could say that this is a book tailored to me. Again, I think the book's reach is far broader than that: as a reader, I enjoy opening my mind to experiences that lie beyond my own world, as you can only really be enlightened by that which you don't already know or have realised.
That's not to say that this book, as I have already mentioned, doesn't have any value for those to whom it appears to be made, such as me: far from it. Through reading the reflections of someone as perceptive as Murakami on issues we - well 'I', for sure - have all wrestled with or experienced, you are able to smile at a metaphorical moment shared and/or be comforted by a familiar problem or obstacle surmounted.
Yes, I guess, for me, the time with this book was like time spent with a good friend: we talked, we laughed, we consoled, we supported, and then we went home. It was all-too-brief and we haven't changed the world, but the time we spent together was special and a great comfort to us both.
And for those of you whose world of experience falls beyond that of Haruki, running and writing, you are, therefore, in a position to be enlightened, in some small way, about an aspect of each, which takes me back to what I enjoy about a book and, consequently, makes me think that you'd enjoy it, too.
Which is a long-winded way of reiterating that I think there is something in this short book for everyone that, whilst not maybe world-changing, is life-affirming and entertaining, and isn't that really enough to expect?
I have read it in Greek (gift from mum) and it was quite interesting to go into the mind of a frequent marathon runner!
I have done a half marathon and doing another one soon, maybe a full marathon in the future, gets more interesting towards the second half of the book. Would recommend to first time half marathon runners that want some idea of what it is all about.
Interesting to find out how running affects your life and clears your mind, as well as contributing to travelling for races and socialising. Setting goals and accomplishing them....its all in your mind and mental strength.
My friend said it was good and enjoyable to read.
Put those shoes on, look up and keep smiling!
Feel free to check out my blog which can be found on my profile page.
This book is so inspirational and encouraging with running and with writing. Murakami is so humble, and he writes beautifully as usual.
I loved reading it and was sad when I reached the end.
Read it if you are one or more of the following; a runner/beginning runner, a writer, a Haruki Murakami fan.