Review: What I Talk About When I Talk About Running

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running
By Haruki Murakami
(Vintage, Paperback, 9780307389831, August 2009, 192pp.)

The Short of It:

An interesting peek into the mind of Haruki Murakami.

The Rest Of It:

The first thing that I simply must say about this book, is that you do not need to be a runner to be able to relate to it. Trust me, my body is far from becoming a running machine. In fact, I am pretty sure my body would collapse into a useless heap upon the mere suggestion of it, but even I took something away from this book.

Murakami, author to such books as the very popular 1Q84, Kafka on the Shore, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle,  and several more decided to write a book about his experiences as a runner. Not so much as a guide on how to become a runner, but more as a personal record of what he thinks about as he does it and how it affects his body and in turn, his writing.

This was fascinating reading. His methodical approach to running is very much how he tackles his writing. He is very regimented in both his running and writing. Running each and every day, regardless of weather and writing for four hours every morning makes you wonder how he can maintain such a hectic pace, but the two are tied together. The running clears his mind and therefore allows him to focus on his writing.

The book includes the obstacles he came up against while training for both the Boston and New York marathons. As usual, Murakami injects his quiet sense of humor here and there and the stories are both interesting and enlightening. I truly enjoyed this book. The easy, conversational tone was comforting and well…wonderful. What did I take away from it? That the writing process does not have to be a complicated. It can be accomplished if you adhere to a routine and make it a part of your life.

As I said earlier, no running required to enjoy this one, but anyone who is trying to attain a goal (no matter what it is) will be inspired by this book. I am seriously thinking about giving it to The Hub (the non-reader) for Christmas. He trained for this year’s marathon and was not able to do it because his routine was affected by a heel injury. However, he’s starting to train for next year’s race and I think this would be good for him to listen to on audio. He is the “non-reader” after all.

Source: Borrowed
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

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15 thoughts on “Review: What I Talk About When I Talk About Running”

  1. Hi Ti !

    I read this book this year too (my review is here if you can read French : http://bitsofparadise.wordpress.com/2011/06/13/autoportrait-de-l%e2%80%99auteur-en-coureur-de-fond-%e2%80%93-haruki-murakami/) & I agree with your review, especially when you underline that a non-runner can appreciate this book (I understand your views on running, believe me !…). In fact, this book is about life in general, how to set goals and try to achieve them. It’s one of my favorite non-fiction reads of the year.

  2. I have heard good things about this book, and I think it might be something I would enjoy. I am interested not only in Murakami’s writing, but also his process, and I think this book would help me discover a little about both. Great review on this one! I am so glad that it didn’t disappoint!

  3. I’ve been curious about this one, especially because its by Murakami (who I love!). I’ll definitely be checking it out – thanks! Maybe I’ll make that a reading goal for 2012 – read all of Murakami’s books 😉

    By the way, sounds like a great gift for the Hub 🙂

  4. I loved this on audio. And I neither have read his books NOR am I a runner. It sure made me wish I could be one though. If I hadn’t been sure I would fall down and die a half mile from where I started, I would have tried. And it made me appreciate the type of man he is (smart, dedicated, inward). So glad you enoyed it!

  5. I listened to this on audio and it was wonderful. I agree — you don’t have to be a runner to enjoy and appreciate it. I thought it was just as much about aging and writing as anything else. I read it as an introduction to Murakami before I embark on his fiction.

  6. Sounds interesting. I just saw a post by Sarah Jio where she said she gets her best ideas and works through her plots while she’s running. Maybe running is the key to being a great author.

  7. I had Zero interest in reading this book until I read your review. I am sort of interested in the act of running as sort of a meditation and am curious to see how he relates to it his writing and achieving goals in general. Will keep this in mind!

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