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What I Talk about When I Talk about Running: A Memoir | [Haruki Murakami]

What I Talk about When I Talk about Running: A Memoir

From the best-selling author of Kafka on the Shore comes this rich and revelatory memoir about writing and running and the integral impact both have made on his life. Equal parts training log, travelogue, and reminiscence, this revealing memoir covers Murakami's four-month preparation for the 2005 New York City Marathon. Settings range from Tokyo, where he once shared the course with an Olympian, to the Charles River in Boston, among young women who outpace him.
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Publisher's Summary

From the best-selling author of Kafka on the Shore comes this rich and revelatory memoir about writing and running, and the integral impact both have made on his life. Equal parts training log, travelogue, and reminiscence, this revealing memoir covers Murakami's four-month preparation for the 2005 New York City Marathon.

Settings range from Tokyo, 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 cornucopia of memories and insights: the eureka moment when he decided to become a writer, his triumphs and disappointments, his passion for vintage LPs, and the experience, after age 50, of having seen his race times improve and then fall back.

Translated by Philip Gabriel.

©2007 Haruki Murakami; (P)2008 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Murakami crafts a charming little volume notable for its good-natured and intimate tone....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." (Publishers Weekly)
"A brilliant meditation on how his running and writing nurture and sustain each other....With sparse, engaging prose....Murakami shares his runner's high." (Sports Illustrated)
"Provides a fascinating portrait of Murakami's working mind and how he works his magic on the page." (The Plain Dealer)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (499 )
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4.1 (247 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Rick Sanford, FL, USA 03-10-09
    Rick Sanford, FL, USA 03-10-09
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    "It is what it says it is"

    I don't understand the negative reviews that some other people have given. This book is exactly what it claims to be: the memoirs about running of a writer who runs. It's not meant to be motivational or educational, nor is it either.

    Yes, it is obvious that Murakami has control issues. No, his style of running and training will not work for everyone. No, you're not going to gain some existential epiphany from this book. (Unless, of course, you happen to have unacknowledged control issues of your own.)

    What it is, however, is well-written, well-narrated, and entertaining. It's a little on the short side, but by the same token it is an appropriate length. None of the stories drag on too far, nor do any of them leave you wanting for more information. The work is concise but not dry, amusing but not cute.

    I'd recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Murakami's other works, with the caveat that it is much more straightforward.

    12 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Adan Fullerton, CA, United States 03-30-10
    Adan Fullerton, CA, United States 03-30-10 Member Since 2004
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    "For Runners"

    I am an avid long distance runner and share books I find on Audible with my wife who is not a runner. Haruki Murakami writes earnestly about running as a void or space in his day. Being the space between his activities he doesn't write about running as a pathway to mind blowing revelations about writing - although running does help him stay motivated to write. The book is about a quest that got underway by trying to use running from Athens to Marathon as a magazine topic piece, leading to an enduring race against his younger self in besting his marathon times; to a transcendent ultra marathon that led to less running. In other words, things mostly dedicated runners tend to understand and have enough interest to listen to or read. Ray Porter was smooth in his reading of the translated material and seamlessly made me think that the author himself was reading. If you are a runner this is a "must read" along with "Born to Run" by Christopher McDougall... if you are not a runner you might, like my wife, get a little bored with "all the runner insider stuff." You can always find a writer who shares a hobby you like and read his/her book about it.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    lindamarie Palo Alto, CA 09-21-09
    lindamarie Palo Alto, CA 09-21-09 Member Since 2006
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    "Gem"

    This is a short monologue on endurance and continuing to pursue difficult projects and goals. I listened to it as I ran or exercised and the author stimulated me to continue my work.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Don Panorama City,, CA, United States 11-27-08
    Don Panorama City,, CA, United States 11-27-08 Member Since 2005
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    "Wow!!!"

    "Running" is really about being yourself and thinking about it. If you want to reflect honesty in your writing, you have to check out this audiobook! In short, it is about being truthful, not about being liked.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James Marietta, OH, United States 08-28-09
    James Marietta, OH, United States 08-28-09 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Murakami Nonfiction"

    I've found the Murakami's nonfiction can be both insightful and lacking depending on the section you read. With WITAWITAR (whew!), I found the book meters above Underground, which was a bit repetitive. With Running, you get anecdotes that come across as both touching and insightful. These two words are often used to describe Murakami's fiction (along with weird, surreal, etc.), but here they come across through the effort of journaling.
    I will say, however, that HM's nonfiction doesn't hold a candle to his novels, or even his short stories, but for the price they're asking here, you can't go wrong with this selection.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brianne Albuquerque, NM, United States 02-07-12
    Brianne Albuquerque, NM, United States 02-07-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Pretty Good Story"
    What did you like best about this story?

    The beginning of the story is very interesting and motivational. I did enjoy hearing from a runner's perspective, his thoughts of running. I am also a writer so it was nice to hear the view points of both running and writing. This book is interesting if you're an obsessive runner, such as myself - therefore, you enjoy all things running. Or if you are a fan of the author.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan Brady, LCSW Palo Alto, CA United States 11-22-11
    Susan Brady, LCSW Palo Alto, CA United States 11-22-11 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A beautiful treatise on how to be an artist"

    This memoir is about running and about being a writer, but it is more fully a document on how to manage all the details of life while still keeping ones goals in site.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    LillyO Idaho Falls, ID USA 01-13-11
    LillyO Idaho Falls, ID USA 01-13-11 Member Since 2003

    LillyO

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    "Just AWESOME!"

    I love the simple and non-grandiose manner Murakami has about running, exercise, etc. I loved this was a personal collection of thoughts (keeping preachiness out of the equation). Not only do I agree with much of what he said, but I can really relate to it. "The Running Blues" is something I have danced with and there are times in my life I can't think of anything better than running. Conversely, there are times I can't think of anything worse. How can the two extremes exist? He helps us understand how/why they do...FOR HIM. I found the memoir to be lyrical, purposeful, and lovely.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Suzanne Marana, AZ, United States 10-03-08
    Suzanne Marana, AZ, United States 10-03-08 Member Since 2007
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    "Good read if you're a runner"

    If you like this author or are a runner, you'll enjoy this book. I run daily and enjoyed listening to it while I run. It's a memoir more than anything, but it was interesting.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kyle Seattle, WA 09-04-08
    Kyle Seattle, WA 09-04-08 Member Since 2008
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    "Great memoir."

    To my great delight, I found this memoir on running nearly as interesting as Murakami's fiction. I have no interest in running, nor did this book inspire me to pull out my running shoes, but there was plenty to chew on both as an avid Murakami reader and as an individual. Some of his insights on life unexpectedly struck strong chords with me. We are such different people, yet some things are the same.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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