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What I talk about when I talk about running…
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What I talk about when I talk about running (original 2007; edition 2009)

by Haruki Murakami (Author), Philip Gabriel (Translator)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,4921152,447 (3.6)86
Member:edwinbcn
Title:What I talk about when I talk about running
Authors:Haruki Murakami (Author)
Other authors:Philip Gabriel (Translator)
Info:London: Vintage Books (2009)
Collections:Read but unowned, Read All Time, Read in 2012
Rating:**1/2
Tags:Japanese Literature, Biography, Haruki Murakami, Health, Sports, CASS

Work details

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running: A Memoir by Haruki Murakami (2007)

  1. 50
    Haruki Murakami and the Music of Words by Jay Rubin (Jannes)
    Jannes: If you want to know more about Murakami as a person you can either go to his own essay-style semi-biography, or you can try Rubin's more systematic and academic approach. Both are worthy of your time.
  2. 30
    The Rider by Tim Krabbé (gust)
    gust: Krabbé heeft het over wielrennen. Ook autobografisch, maar literair beter uitgewerkt dan Murakami.
  3. 30
    Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall (DeDeNoel)
    DeDeNoel: One of the best books ever about running. Murakami's book and this totally inspired me to become a runner.
  4. 10
    Cassidys Lauf: Roman by John L. Parker, Jr. (ostgut)
  5. 00
    Runningtherapie het standaardwerk voor lopers en professionals by Bram Bakker (edwinbcn)
  6. 00
    De halve van Egmond by Bram Bakker (edwinbcn)
  7. 22
    Bench Press by Sven Lindqvist (prezzey)
    prezzey: Writers talk about the place of sports in their lives. I personally prefer Bench Press, but if you're interested in the topic, both are worth reading.
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» See also 86 mentions

English (91)  Spanish (7)  Dutch (4)  Swedish (2)  Catalan (2)  French (2)  German (2)  Italian (2)  Portuguese (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (115)
Showing 1-5 of 91 (next | show all)
In this memoir, Murakami talks about his experiences as both a runner and a writer and how they overlap. He feels that his running has directly influenced his writing, most notably in his ability to keep going even through pain or frustration.

This was interesting enough, though it wasn't deeply memorable. It made me want to both run and write more, so that was good. If you're a runner and a writer or a fan of Murakami's novels, then I'd suggest giving it a try, but if you're not, then skip it. ( )
  andreablythe | Jul 10, 2014 |
Murakami is honestly delightful about the reality of running, writing and getting older. Two out of the three he wanted to do and the other just happened. All three are challenges he faces with wit, grit determination and raw honesty.

I read it and went for a run. ( )
  azolibrary | Mar 4, 2014 |
Lovely pace. Perfect balance of humourous, factual, and cerebral vignettes... sometimes all combined into one extended chapter or section. I also loved the balance between Murakami's reflections on running and his reflections on writing, and how those influence one another. I'd certainly recommend it, even for someone who isn't a runner or a writer. ( )
  CanadianA | Feb 19, 2014 |
As expected, this book contains a lot of discussion of running. I was okay with that, because I knew that the was the focus, and I appreciated the degree to which Murakami drew parallels between his approach to running and his approach to writing fiction. So the book is instructional as well as informative, but the primary reason to read it is because you are interested in the interests, personality, and seriousness of purpose of this particular author.

As often seems to be the case, I am torn about the way to rate a book. When I see a book rated with just 3 of 5 stars, I don't feel compelled to read it myself. There are so many absolutely excellent books out there, and there will never be time enough for me to get to all of them. So I do wish there were some additional way to weight my rating, because this is a book that I'm glad I read. I would even recommend it to myself, if that were possible, since I'm pretty certain of the kind of things that appeal to me. Yet I see ways the book could have been a better version of itself. I wanted to know more about some things and a bit less about others. I wanted the meandering, repetitive style to straighten itself out and become a surer conveyance of the ideas.

And, as always, I'm puzzled by the degree to which one can really criticize the language of a book in translation. So I stay for the ideas and the images, and I try not to get hung up on a style that's certainly been imposed to a certain degree. Murakami talks at one point in the book about giving speeches in English, about how much he prepares and practices, about how in some ways the limitations of giving a speech in a language not one's own make things simpler. I think the same is true of translation and interpretation as well. A certain kind of linguistic variety can diminish in the process.

What I came away with, apart from some insight into Murakami's character and work ethic, is a deeper appreciation for the application of regular practice to anything one cares about. As a writer long on desire but short on discipline, this is a story I can never hear too much. Anyone who has an interest in improving in a chosen discipline can get something from this book, but one has to be prepared to think a lot about running. Haruki Murakami sure does. ( )
1 vote phredfrancis | Feb 8, 2014 |
As I am a beginning runner, I picked this book up before a recent vacation. And usually as with any vacation, a whole lot of reading does not get done. Not this last trip. I read most of this book over the span of 5 days. It was not an action packed, page turner, but it was certainly entertaining. I could relate to a lot of what Murakami said about competitive sports. I felt like it was me in the book telling my own thoughts.

I did not expect this book to tell me how to run, which it did not. It did, however, reveal a sense of... NEED to run. I know that sounds weird, but I feel more likely to continue running now that I have read this.

Finally, I LOVE how he also wrote about his writing life along the way. I am a closet writer, and found that even more inspiring than the running. All in all, a great read! ( )
  Paul.Kohler | Dec 6, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 91 (next | show all)
[Y]ou need be neither runner nor writer to find resonance in this slender but lucid meditation.
 
So what does he think about while running? The disappointing answer is not much apart from the rhythms of feet on tarmac and blood pumping round the body.
 
It is not just these perversely impressive physical feats that sharpen what might otherwise be a dull treatise on a healthful habit; Mr. Murakami's work has always combined the ordinary and the extraordinary, and this memoir is no exception.
 
To characterize it as briefly as possible: easy on ear and mind alike, it’s the type of prose I would call sort of pretty poor. Running is “sort of a vague theme” (i.e., not just vague but vaguely vague), and the book is “a kind of memoir.” Murakami sort of likes this kind of thing, not just as an indistinct modifier but as a form of category-definition. He’s the “type of person,” “kind of person” — I lost track of the number of times this came up — who likes “sort of laid-back” music and is “sort of a brazen person” who sometimes has “a sort of arrogant attitude.”
added by dcozy | editNew York Times, Geoff Dyer (Aug 10, 2008)
 
When I closed the book, I found myself fantasising not about athletic feats, but that more readily available satisfaction that Murakami evokes so tellingly: the stinging joy of a very, very cold beer.
 

» Add other authors (23 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Haruki Murakamiprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gabriel, PhilipTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to the English one.
Zum Schluss möchte ich dieses Buch allen Läufern widmen, denen ich auf meinem Wege begegnet bin, die ich überholt habe und die mich überholt haben. Wenn ihr nicht gewesen wärt, wäre ich vielleicht nie weitergelaufen.
(Nachwort, August 2007)
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I'm on Kauai, in Hawaii, today, Friday, August 5, 2005. It's unbelievably clear and sunny, not a cloud in the sky.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0307389839, Paperback)

An intimate look at writing, running, and the incredible way they intersect, from the incomparable, bestselling author Haruki Murakami.While simply training for New York City Marathon would be enough for most people, Haruki Murakami's decided to write about it as well. The result is a beautiful memoir about his intertwined obsessions with running and writing, full of vivid memories and insights, including the eureka moment when he decided to become a writer. By turns funny and sobering, playful and philosophical, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running is rich and revelatory, both for fans of this masterful yet guardedly private writer and for the exploding population of athletes who find similar satisfaction in athletic pursuit.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:33:14 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

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 slew of critically acclaimed books, 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 among young women who outpace him. Through this marvellous lens of sport emerges a cornucopia of memories and insights: the eureka moment when he decided to become a writer, his greatest triumphs and disappointments, his passion for vintage LPs, and the experience, after fifty, of seeing his race times improve and then fall back. By turns funny and sobering, playful and philosophical, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running is rich and revealing, both for fans of this masterful yet private writer and for the exploding population of athletes who find similar satisfaction in distance running. Biographies & Autobiographies. Track & field sports, athletics.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 6 descriptions

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