01 July 2016

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

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Here's my review as it appears on Goodreads.

What I Talk About When I Talk About RunningWhat I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’ve never read a Murakami novel before so I had no idea what to expect from his running memoir. I’d seen it on the bookshelf of a number of runners so as I started training for my first marathon a few weeks ago, I picked up the book as well.

I loved most of it. I found his philosophy with both running and writing to be similar to mine. There are many things that someone who’s not an endurance athlete can’t understand so maybe this book speaks to a narrow audience. But I’m glad to be a member of that audience. I found myself nodding along. I’d read a free sample on my Kindle, then found a used paperback to buy so I could underline passages and make notes in the margin. I loved this book so much I penciled it up.

Now that I’ve seen this glimpse into his mind I want to try his novels, too.

I would not say this is “equal parts training log, travelogue, and reminiscence,” as the book description does. It includes all those things, but not in equal parts. It’s a series of essays that he wrote, mostly during his training for the 2005 New York City Marathon, but the memories take him to other races and other periods of his life, and on a whirlwind tour of his stomping grounds across Hawaii, Boston, Greece, and Japan.


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