We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access.
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.
Regular Price:$12.57
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Your Likes make Audible better!

'Likes' are shared on Facebook and Audible.com. We use your 'likes' to improve Audible.com for all our listeners.

You can turn off Audible.com sharing from your Account Details page.

OK

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 (478 )
5 star
 (167)
4 star
 (172)
3 star
 (105)
2 star
 (25)
1 star
 (9)
Overall
4.0 (235 )
5 star
 (85)
4 star
 (84)
3 star
 (45)
2 star
 (14)
1 star
 (7)
Story
4.1 (230 )
5 star
 (83)
4 star
 (93)
3 star
 (43)
2 star
 (7)
1 star
 (4)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    William Blue Springs, MO, United States 02-07-13
    William Blue Springs, MO, United States 02-07-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    6
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Interesting Stories; Good for Runners"
    Where does What I Talk about When I Talk about Running rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    A pretty solid book. It kept me interested. If you're not much into running, you might not like it as well.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The author is a humble person, but has accomplished much in life. Some nice stories here.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I enjoyed hearing about the author's time in Greece.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tim United States 12-15-12
    Tim United States 12-15-12 Member Since 2010

    Not a mainstream reader.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    601
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    336
    332
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    101
    8
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "An Insight in Murakami"

    Running is a passion for Haruki Murakami. Instead of writing another typical memoir of his achievement as being a great author, Murakami writes about his obsession on the sport and training for the NYC Marathon and swimming in a triathlon. Through his training, you get to understand where he gets his inspiration on his best sellers that his fans enjoys.

    Unlike other memoir that I've read in the past, "What I Talk about When I Talk about Running" is comparable to "On Writing" by Stephen King. Both authors doesn't focus on their success as a writer, but they rely on their hobbies and what drives them to write.

    If you are a runner and not familiar Haruki Murakami's novels, you will enjoy his training for NYC because of the bond at being a runner. If you happen to be a fan of his books, you will enjoy on how he became a writer. He talks about how he wrote some of his great books like Norwegian Wood.

    There is a portion in his memoir, where he talks about the Dark Shadow chasing him when he is training. I got goose bumps when I listened to that segment because this book is not all about running, but yet an insight to one of the best Japanese author in our present day.

    Learning how to swim for a triathlon was the best part of the book. It explains how discipline he can be.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Decatur, GA, United States 10-11-12
    Michael Decatur, GA, United States 10-11-12 Member Since 2009
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fascinating peek into the mind of Murakami"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I'd recommend this to anyone with a passing interest in writing or running. This is essentially an exploration into one man's methods behind both, binding them together in two like-minded experiences. Having already been a long-time fan of Murakami's novels, as well as a long-time running enthusiast, I couldn't believe the luck of having two personal interests so thoroughly combined. Absolutely satisfying.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jazmin PHILADELPHIA, PA, United States 10-10-12
    Jazmin PHILADELPHIA, PA, United States 10-10-12 Member Since 2012

    Librarian, knitter, bibliophile.

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Murakami is a great author"
    What does Ray Porter bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Ray Porter has a soothing voice that makes this novel a great listen.


    Any additional comments?

    Murakami is the kind of writer who can make even running seem interesting. The way he weaves his life, writing and running together is compelling, and the narrator has such a nice, conversational tone that you almost feel like he's an extension of Murakami telling you about everything while sitting in his living room.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Coffee Virginia Beach, VA, United States 09-04-12
    Coffee Virginia Beach, VA, United States 09-04-12 Member Since 2012

    Coffee and a Book Chick

    HELPFUL VOTES
    55
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    20
    20
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    12
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Absolutely engaging! Great story, great narrator!"

    Oh, my gawd, in my life right now, this is PERFECT. I'll explain at the end, but my favorite part is the realization that "I am blessed to be born with a body that gets fat."

    With my new love for running, I've found that music doesn't help me run any better, longer, or stronger. Music distracts me, making me ambivalent. I end up running to the beat more than anything else, which is annoying if I need to slow down or speed up. But listening to an audiobook? Fantastic. And listening to one about running by Haruki Murakami? PERFECT.

    Only Haruki Murakami could write his memoir, and make it seem like it's just going to be about one thing only, something simple, but then he sneaks in so much more to make you really think. Is it only about his love affair with running? It is, but I would say it's a straightforward reflection about one man's evolution in his life and how running has made him better. Although Murakami falls in love with it, he just can't fight growing older, and this is tough to accept.

    Before his career as a novelist, Murakami smoked sixty cigarettes a day. SIXTY. He decided to get healthier, so he quit smoking and ran. Short distances at first and then eventually his runs lengthened. Soon, he was running an average of more than 36 miles a week. Marathons are now a way of life for him and Murakami puts his heart and soul into it all. He experiences highs and lows that confuse him and make him question what his body can do, but he still pushes himself, trying to become better every day.

    Whether you love the chaos of your job, are stressed out by it, or a little bit of both, you have to commit to it in order to make a living and survive. However...you still need that moment to yourself, right? This is where I'm at in my life now. I want to find time each day, but I also want to be better in everything. While I am no athlete (or perfectly coordinated human being, for that matter), I now suddenly find myself in a life more chaotic than ever before. So I want to run and it makes me feel so much better. Listening to this audio helped me understand why. There is one part about feeling the pain, but moving past it and not really feeling it anymore that resonated with me. I ran a little bit longer that night.

    Running or not? Will you like the book either way?
    I think you'll still enjoy it even if you're not a runner. It's hard for me to feel like I'm giving great guidance about that because I recently fell in love with running, so I instantly connected to it. Murakami is a fascinating person and the different races he participates in are incredible. He is motivational simply because he doesn't want to be anything other than what makes him happy. He talks a little bit about his writing, and the success of his books, and how he is extremely pleased with those who love his work, particularly the young college kids he never expected. But at the end of the day, the book is about a runner, one man who finds complete and total joy in the beauty of pushing yourself, but truly enjoying the art of being who you are.

    And you know what my favorite part really was?
    As I mentioned earlier, Haruki Murakami revealed a wildly cool idea about something I never thought I would feel: "I am blessed to be born with a body that gains weight." Huh? What? I thought this was crazy-talk. But as I listened, I totally got it. Like he says, by having a body that gains weight, we have something that is our trigger to motivate us to get healthier and to exercise. If we had a perfect {read: relative} body, then we wouldn't really ever get healthy. We'd smoke and drink and eat junk and maybe we'd clog up our arteries and get sick and a host of other issues but we would think we were fine because hey, our bodies look gooood. This was eye-opening for me. I resolved to feel happy with the fact that I need to work out and eat better, that I have to invest in myself in order to look and feel the way I want to. I loved this revelation of the book and it's a lesson I'll take with me forever.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Julie United States 08-21-12
    Julie United States 08-21-12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    14
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "interesting and inspiring"

    an interesting and insightful personal account of murakami's running practice that also offered thoughtful reflections on his writing. (as an unexpected personal side note, this book got me excited about running again!)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dana Brooklyn, NY, United States 08-04-12
    Dana Brooklyn, NY, United States 08-04-12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Perfectly captured the flow of running thoughts"

    I listened to this - where else? - over the course of a few runs. The standout quality was the manner in which its stream-of-consciousness style perfectly mimicked the rhythm my own thoughts take when running - focusing on one subject for a while, then segueing smoothly into the next, and generally circling around a few different themes. Murakami's analogy of the mind as the sky and thoughts as clouds that pass through was beautiful and apt.

    Content wise, the author's main thread of the centrality of running to his identity and lifestyle was totally relatable for me. The evocative language made me laugh out loud a few times when Murakami discussed the mental agony of long runs, and the efficiency and succinctness of the writing was a pleasure. Ray Porter was a very good narrator, and his wryness was particularly effective.

    I doubt that I would have enjoyed this book so much if I'd read it as a non-runner. But it was a lovely introduction to Murakami's work, and I will definitely be reading/downloading more by this running author.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Raleigh greensboro, NC, United States 07-22-12
    Raleigh greensboro, NC, United States 07-22-12 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    79
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    67
    61
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    3
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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..."


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Peter Williams Melbourne, Australia 07-14-12
    Peter Williams Melbourne, Australia 07-14-12 Listener Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    8
    8
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A Fantastic Book on Running... and life!"

    "Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional"

    This quote was my biggest take-away from Murakami's great book; and well worth price of admission alone... and is so applicable to everything in life from running, to writing, to health, and to just 'getting things done'

    “The most important thing we learn at school is the fact that the most important things can't be learned at school.”

    This book is full of amazing take-aways, and this quote is another one of those.

    Being a son of a teacher, the one thing my mother taught me during my schools years, was that school is about teaching us HOW to learn (not about what you are learning) and I think this quote accompanies those parental lessons perfectly.

    If you are a runner, athlete or motivated couch potato I can't recommend this book highly enough, and along with 'Born To Run' and 'Finding Ultra', are my 'must read books for runners'

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael G. Maudlin Wheaton, IL United States 06-27-12
    Michael G. Maudlin Wheaton, IL United States 06-27-12 Member Since 2012
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    71
    4
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Not as revealing as I had hoped"

    As one would expect from Murakami, the writing is absorbing and pulled me in, but I was surprised how little I learned about running or writing. The narration was excellent and several of the side stories made the work enjoyable (especially since I listened to it while running), but I had hoped for more.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 21-30 of 52 results PREVIOUS12346NEXT

    There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

CANCEL

Thank You

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.