Friday, June 12, 2015

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami Review

While I was living overseas, I tried valiantly to read Murakami's 1Q84.  I enjoyed the prose and the even style of writing - level, calm, and unhurried.  Unfortunately, I had a copy with all three or four volumes in one, which made for something like over 300 pages of calm, unhurried writing...and I put it down.  Alas alack, etc.

This, however, was just right - a lovely introduction to the writer, and also gave some insight into his style and mindset.  I'd only heard good things about both Murakami and this book before reading, and was not disappointed.

If you're looking for a slow-paced summer read for sitting in cafes or on the stoop, pick it up.  It's not an "athletics" book, and it's not just about writing.  I think it's fair to say it's about life changing, making choices and sticking with them, community, and how we respond to challenges in life.

Basic plot: (from back cover) An intimate look at writing, running, and the incredible way they intersect, from the incomparable, bestselling author Haruki Murakami.  While training for the New York City Marathon, Haruki Murakami decided to keep a journal of his progress.  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 expanding population who find similar satisfaction in athletic pursuit.

On a scale from 1 to Cripplingly Depressing: 0

Memories from reading: I read this while waiting for graduation ceremonies to start and for my plane to arrive, which I think added something to it.  There was never one period where I just sat and read for ages, and the book is good for that - when you have a moment, the pieces you do read are engaging and thought-provoking.

Teeth-gnashing: Nothing, really.  I can't think of any bits that I wish had been longer, or cut short.  It all seemed to be put together very well.

Weapon of Choice: Paperback, from The Harvard Bookstore in Cambridge, MA.

Other titles by this author:
After Dark
After the Quake
Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman
Kafka on the Shore
Norwegian Wood

Have you read What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, or any of Murakami's other books? What did you think?

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