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What I Talk About When I Talk About Running Paperback – Aug 11 2009

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Canada; Reprint edition (Aug. 11 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307397378
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307397379
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 12.7 x 19.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 200 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #177,810 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Murakami's latest is a nonfiction work mostly concerned with his thoughts on the long-distance running he has engaged in for much of his adult life. Through a mix of adapted diary entries, old essays, reminiscences and life advice, Murakami crafts a charming little volume notable for its good-natured and intimate tone. While the subject matter is radically different from the fabulous and surreal fiction that Murakami (The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle) most often produces, longtime readers will recognize the source of the isolated, journeying protagonists of the author's novels in the formative running experiences recounted. Murakami's insistence on focusing almost exclusively on running can grow somewhat tedious over the course of the book, but discrete, absorbing episodes, such as a will-breaking 62-mile ultramarathon and a solo re-creation of the historic first marathon in Greece serve as dynamic and well-rendered highlights. Murakami offers precious little insight into much of his life as a writer, but what he does provide should be of value to those trying to understand the author's long and fruitful career. An early section recounting Murakami's transition from nightclub owner to novelist offers a particularly vivid picture of an artist soaring into flight for the first time. (Aug.)
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“A fitting and hugely enjoyable memoir.”
Daily Telegraph

“This charming little book is a winner from start to finish.”
The Independent on Sunday

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Bojan Tunguz TOP 50 REVIEWER on Sept. 5 2011
Format: Paperback
For almost three decades Haruki Murakami has been providing his fans with a steady diet of quirky, imaginative and poignantly intimate novels and short stories. And yet, Murakami himself has written very little about himself, and has tried to keep his own life extremely private. So it is very enjoyable to finally get a glimpse of this author in his own words. Granted, over the years he had woven many elements from his own life into his stories, but it was never too easy to separate facts from fiction. In this book he has finally decided to talk clearly and forthrightly about some aspects of his writing career, but particularly about his passion for running. It turns out that he had picked up running at about the same time when he decided to become a novelist. He needed a physical activity that would compensate for his sudden switch to a more sedentary profession. Over the years, however, running had become a passion in its own right, but not quite an obsession. All the aspiring writers will find his analogies between long-distance running and writing, and novel writing in particular, very revealing and informative. According to Murakami, three indispensible things that any writer needs (in this order) are: talent, focus and endurance. Unsurprisingly talent is the most important of the three, but other two are required as well if one wants to become successful at writing. It is probably no coincidence that these three personal qualities are crucially important for long-distance running. The impression one gets from reading this book is that for Murakami running and writing reinforce each other.

Even if you don't care about either writing or running in its own right, this book offers many interesting stories and reflection.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Reader Writer Runner TOP 50 REVIEWER on April 26 2013
Format: Paperback
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.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Oliver TOP 500 REVIEWER on Jan. 25 2009
Format: Hardcover
Murakami is a well know, quirky writer who has authored a number of novels and has a cult following. Although he is Japanese, and writes primarily in Japanese, his English is good enough that he also translates (professionally?) between the two languages.

Murakami is also a runner. While his times are only pretty good, e.g., a marathon in about 3:30, he has been at it for 25 or so years, and he has true runner's view of running, if that makes sense. I can say this because I have been running for about 35 years and, although my times are a bit faster than his, I can see that Murakami is clearly one of "us" -- those people to whom running comes naturally. Not that he is fast, just that it is natural for him to run.

This book offers Murakami's personal take on running, as well as writing. If you are a fan of his writing, then this book will be a must-read. Even if you do not care one whit about his novels, however, this book offers a good view into the mind of those of us for whom running is a calling of sorts, a natural part of our lives.
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