What I Talk About When I Talk About Running

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running

A Memoir

Book - 2008
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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, not to mention triathlons and a dozen critically acclaimed books, he reflects upon the influence the sport has had on his life and--even more important--on his writing.--From publisher description.
Publisher: New York, NY : Alfred A. Knopf, 2008
Edition: 1st U.S. ed
ISBN: 9780307269195
Branch Call Number: 895.6 M931W
Characteristics: vii, 179 p. ; 20 cm
Additional Contributors: Gabriel, Philip 1953-
Alternative Title (Original Script): 走るときについて語るときに僕の語ること


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Jul 09, 2017

Murakami really captures the psyche, the mindset, the motivation of the runner (and probably the novelist, as well). I think a more appropriate title might have been What I Think About When I Think About Running.

ChelseaJM Apr 09, 2016

I read this short memoir by the famously mind-bending novelist Haruki Murakami several years ago, but I still think about it often. From its first sentence, it is an example of stunningly clear writing in which the author meditates on running, and running as a metaphor for writing and for life.

LPL_EliH Jan 15, 2016

Reading this succinct meditation on running (and writing) is no marathon; Murakami deftly recounts his journey as a long distance runner and how he came to be a renowned novelist in 179 pages. No one point is overthought or pushed with unneeded emphasis. This is not a guide to writing, or a confessional history of Murakami's life; it is a simple personal philosophy of human endurance.

Jul 08, 2015

Wow! It's interesting to see so many negative review of this audio book. It is actually the 1st book I read/listen by Murakami. I like how he connected his physical conditioning to his life and writing. I then started reading/listening his other work.

Nov 20, 2014

Even at 180 pages the book still feels a bit long. It's probably rude and incorrect to say that there's nothing much profound about it, but nonetheless, the conversational tone kinda makes it feel that way. Murakami mostly sticks to the topic of (long distance) running, venturing out into territories regarding his career as a novelist and experience as a person by using running experiences and training techniques as a springboard. There are a couple of compelling stories about experiences he's had as a runner (for example: running the original marathon path backwards from Athens to Marathon, and his first time running a 62-mile ultramarathon). There are also interesting pieces about his daily life in this period (basically 2005-2007), like descriptions of his leaky roof due to a lingering storm's arrival while his apartment building was under construction. Overall, the book succeeds in giving insight into what attitudes propel this man, introduced metaphorically and detailed (nearly) directly. Slightly tedious, but perhaps exactly as he intended (which if this is the case, he took it easy on us).

Jul 31, 2014

I was surprised at the negativity throughout this book. I expected pain of training but also joy of training, feeling good about a run, for example. But this was mainly about pain and disappointment. The man runs well, he accomplishes a lot of running, he's dedicated and focussed.....but he doesn't seem to enjoy one minute of it, he's constantly disappointed in his runs, he's forever beating up on himself about not doing better. It was a bit depressing, really.
His final words were surprising: "My time, the rank I attain, my outward appearance -- all these are secondary. For a runner like me, what's important is reaching the goal I set myself, under my own power."
I applaud what he says; this is a true runner. I just wish the rest of the book was this positive and encouraging,

Jul 12, 2014

I liked it. I respect Mr. Murakami as a writer and was surprised that on top of being a writer, he was also an athlete and he had a few side jobs. Nice touch.

Meeseeks Dec 07, 2013

This is one of my favourite books. Being a fan of Murakami, the book offers insights to the work habit of this imaginative ficiton writer. Being a former competitive triathlete and runner I find myself nodding to many of the sentiments he shares about the sports and the lifestyle of an endurance athlete.

ksoles Apr 26, 2013

Internationally acclaimed japanese novelist Haruki Murakami has another life: that of a runner. In "What I Talk About When I Talk About Running," he pulls together various pieces he has written about running over the years. These pieces yield an elegant combination of memoir, personal history and essay collection that captures the author's single-minded focus and methodical discipline. “I have only a few reasons to keep on running,” he writes, “and a truckload of them to quit. All I can do is keep those few reasons nicely polished.”

This same discipline extends to his writing, which he approaches with the attention of a master craftsman. Indeed, throughout the sleek volume, he draws many germane parallels between running and writing. His insights may not resonate on the level of his novels, but he certainly makes effective use of artful prose.

JCLHelenH Mar 20, 2013

Novelist Murakami examines the relationship between running and writing.

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Dec 11, 2014

And I always think this: They put up with such strenuous training, and where did their thoughts, their hopes and dreams, disappear to? When people pass away, do their thoughts just vanish?

Dec 11, 2014

Maybe the only thing I can definitely say about it is this: That's life. Maybe the only thing we can do is accept it, without really knowing what's going on. Like taxes, the tide rising and falling, John Lennon's death, and miscalls by referees at the World Cup.


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