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What I Talk about When I Talk about Running Audiobook

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

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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

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Performance
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  •  
    Karen 09-06-14
    Karen 09-06-14
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    "Interesting peek into Murakami's life experiences"

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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    Raleigh greensboro, NC, United States 07-22-12
    Raleigh greensboro, NC, United States 07-22-12 Member Since 2009
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    "i am my own therapist and hero"

    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..."


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    A. Yerkes United States 06-09-09
    A. Yerkes United States 06-09-09 Member Since 2017

    Expatriate American academic with high, middle, and low-brow taste.

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    "pretty good"

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    KC 01-28-10
    KC 01-28-10 Listener Since 2009
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    "Engaging insight into an enigmatic writer"

    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.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mila 04-16-17
    Mila 04-16-17 Member Since 2015
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    "Nice little book"

    I've never been a fan of Murakami and purchased this book only because it talks about running. Nevertheless, many times while the listening to it, I catch myself thinking of a person I know, who isn't crazy about this theme, but would appreciate the book. So, I would recommend this book to anyone as a good and thought provoking read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andreea Marin 03-05-17 Member Since 2016

    Canadian-Romanian. Librarian (MI), English (BA) 25 years old.

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    "Running"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Not really. I didn't enjoy the way Murakami talks about other people running while he singles out his experience. It's not cool to consider your pursuit for setting running goals as sacrosanct and assuming that "the girls with their ponytails" are doing it for superficial reasons. It takes discipline on everyone's part and a healthy goal not necessarily a beauty goal just because one is a woman. I liked the audio, I did not care for the story/essay (memoir?).


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    Nothing on this topic or by this author.


    Have you listened to any of Ray Porter’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Ray Porter was a good reader/performer. I did listen to the Silver Linings playbook and he was great there too. After a quick search it looks like all the OTHER books he narrates are awesome. I will definitely try his science fiction reads/performances in the future.


    Was What I Talk about When I Talk about Running worth the listening time?

    nope. no. no.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Aaron Jefferson 02-26-17
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    "A surgical examination of the mind of a runner"

    I read this book because I am both an ultra runner and a fan of Murakami's previous novels.

    I found all of the little joys of running, the personal frustrations, victories, and even thoughts I have never defined. Articulated and related to throughout this book.

    It's a book about how we live and grow, and sooner or later find ourselves to be when we start running.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jason Hogan 02-03-17
    Jason Hogan 02-03-17 Member Since 2013
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    "fantastic!!"

    loved it! Haruki Murakami gets running and how to tell the story of what goes through the mind of the average long distance runner

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    julian 11-27-16
    julian 11-27-16 Member Since 2017
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    "great insight "

    love to hear about the philosophies of one of my favorite artists. very insightful and entertaining.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen Lehrer SANTA BARBARA, CA, US 11-25-16
    Karen Lehrer SANTA BARBARA, CA, US 11-25-16 Member Since 2015
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    "Great for runners"

    I was hoping for more information on Murakami, as I'm a huge fan. Great for runners.. This is about his relationship with running and it's discipline.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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