Monday, August 20, 2012

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

From Goodreads:  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.

Equal parts training log, travelogue, and reminiscence, this revealing memoir covers his four-month preparation for the 2005 New York City Marathon and takes us to places 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 marvelous lens of sport emerges a panorama 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.

My Thoughts:  I have not read any of Murakami's books before but after reading this memoir, I will definitely be checking out his other works.  This book is basically a running journal but it also tells how Murakami became a writer.  There are several chapters that walk you through races he completed and how he felt at different points during the race.  I am nowhere near Murakami's level as a runner but I found his book to be inspirational.  It really made me want to get up off my butt and go for a run.  It even made me want to run a marathon which is craziness.  What I really enjoyed was that he talked a lot about how hard he works to be a long distance runner and how at times he has had bad races and not met his running goals.  It definitely made him more relatable and like an average guy instead of a world famous writer.  If you like running or have any interest in running, I highly recommend this book.  4 stars.


  1. I have read quite a bit of Murakami and (generally speaking) love his writing. I've never read any of his non-fiction however. I'm probably the complete opposite to a runner but I still think this sounds interesting.

    If you're thinking of trying some of his fiction I'd recommend starting with Norweigen Wood as it's probably his most 'normal' (of what I've read anyway), but Kafka on the Shore is my favourite so far.

    1. Thanks for the recommendations! I wasn't sure where to start but now I am going to check these ones out.


Imagination Designs