murakami is a neurotic, nonathletic, indulged and observant guy
he works hard to make a genuine, deliberate life for himself
society's demands for conformity and interaction surround him
in the midst of this struggle he discovers long distance running
he does it because "... it suits me..." / it lets him be himself
in the process of running he becomes his own therapist and hero
the book doesn't try very hard to dazzle or entertain or engage
murakami wants to connect to those who have travelled the same path
he then shares the process by which he came to know his true self
in an increasingly sedentary and interactive world he found a way out
he has created a private, moveable, reliable place to retune his compass
if that speaks to your soul great / if not, murakami would say "...move on..."
I had no problem with the narrator -- his reading is unaffected. I loved the first half of the book, as the writer made philosophical connections between running and writing. His claim that writing is like summoning up a toxin from deep inside will stay with me forever. But in the second half of the book, it succumbed to the common error of fitness books by focusing only on the details of his own training, goal-setting, disappointments, and I stopped caring. Still, compared to the jockish egoism of so many running books, I was impressed and identified strongly with Murakami's individualist outlook and will now check out some of his novels.
This is the first Murakami audio book I've ever listened to and I wasn't disappointed.
I won't repeat the summary of what this book is about (the title pretty much says it all anyway), but I really enjoyed Murakami's anecdotes. Being a Murakami fan for many years now beginning with Norwegian Wood, it was refreshing to know more about the writer behind all the beloved books I've read over the years.
The narration is excellent. Ray Porter does an admirable job, embodying Murakami's "voice" so much that I find it hard to believe it isn't Murakami narrating these anecdotes himself.
When I listen to the book, it feels like I'm hearing an old friend recounting his stories. I've had this audiobook for close to a year now, but I return to it time and time again. Just like an old friend, I find comfort in his words and motivation in his trials/triumphs.
Perfect for those who wish to appreciate Murakami at a human level.
I was underwhelmed with this book. :(. I might be the only person... He presents very relatable experiences and is very humble but the book was not particularly thrilling or interesting. It was a straightforward brief memoir about the author and his endeavors in running.
I already know the worst day of my life. It is the day that Haruki Murakami does one of two things; dies, or stops writing.
Even something that I had absolutely no interest in, he can write about it in such a fascinating, emotionally profound way, that I'm instantly engaged.
Buy it, read it, you'll enjoy it.
It is a memoir so I expect the story to be very self centered, but the narration made Murakami seem downright pompous. That said, the book did have some wonderful insights about the practice of running and writing. I liked getting a glimpse into what Murakami's rituals are and how that figures into his creativity.
A runner myself, I have received the book as a gift several times and even in different languages. I got bored the first time I tried to read it but wanted to give it another go, and listened to the entire book, but disappointingly so, it never got any more interesting than in those first few pages. It contains lengthy and not particularly insightful descriptions of Murakami's running experiences – many of which compare to my own. This book may possibly be interesting for people who either are Murakami fans or don't run themselves and want to get a sense of what that is like – I didn't get much entertainment or new learning out of the book.
The narration was a bit too dramatic in its intonation.
I recommend not gifting this book to actual runners.
Until I listened to "What I Talk About When I Talk About Running," Stephen King's "On Writing" was my favorite nonfiction memoir-like book by a novelist. Both books are a rare treat, peeling back the veil on the novelist's mind to reveal something of their daily life and motivation for writing. While a significant portion of Murakami's book is indeed focused on running and his thoughts during his runs (which are usually quite philosophical), he also shares experiences from his stay in Cambridge MA, his earlier career as a tavern owner, his search for a swim coach, and how he runs in order to do his "day job" more effectively. I found this book absolutely fascinating and like King's "On Writing," it gave me a greater appreciation for Murakami as a writer. Highly recommended.
I would definitely recommend this audiobook to a friend. Haruki Murakami's books don't always lend themselves to an audiobook format, but this book was well served by it. It is a wonderful personal meditation on running and the routines of life. For anyone that runs regularly this book will feel like a dear companion. My only criticism is that it ended too soon.
I would recommend this book to friends who are good conversationalists and enjoying listening more than speaking. It's very entertaining if you are interested in other people who share your interests, but who have differing perspectives.
You know the cliffhanger as soon as you hear it, no mysteries there. But my favorite really is the great reveal. It wasn't whether or not he met his goal, but what would he think of the outcome? How would the outcome of this major effort affect his future plans?
I also liked Haruki's mention of living up to the standards you have set for yourself. The matter-of-fact,-no-excuses,-you-are-accountable-to-yourself way he set that was quite an eye opener.
(BTW... I did NOT expect Lovin' Spoonful to be one of Haruki's inspirations. Awesome.)
Ray Porter brought a good balance to the narration. (It's weird to write this next part, but I want to be honest with reviews)
I wanted authenticity without being stereotypical. I was a little hesitant about a book narrated by a "guy named Ray" written by an author who was Japanese.
What I really liked is that Ray brought a 'matter of fact' narration to Haruki's words. He emphasized where he should have and he just spoke well. "Enunciation" comes to mind first. But also Ray brought the conversational pace and tone of a man's memory.
I'm not sure how the whole thing fit together, maybe Haruki (Japanese) -> Philip Gabriel (printed english translation) -> Ray Porter (audio narration)
Overall, I think Ray Porter was a good fit and enjoyable.
Not really. But I generally ended each listening session with a good feeling.