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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 (489 )
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4.1 (237 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Kristina Oroville, CA, United States 08-04-11
    Kristina Oroville, CA, United States 08-04-11 Member Since 2010
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    36
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    Overall
    "Excellent Read"

    I'm currently training for a marathon and is this is the perfect audio book to listen to. Murakami is humorous and quite insightful!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    07-11-11
    07-11-11 Member Since 2010
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
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    "A Great Read for a Runner"

    This is the first Murakami book I read, and as a fellow runner I enjoyed his narrative. I also enjoyed his writing style so much that I have purchased some of his fiction, which I also have enjoyed.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James Olathe, KS, United States 05-09-11
    James Olathe, KS, United States 05-09-11 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Contemplative"

    I have never read any other books by this author. He appears to be a professional author who is writing this book as a hobby about his hobby. I can best describe the book as a lazy Sunday summer afternoon reading outside in the shade after a hard Saturday training run.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brenda Charlestown, IN, United States 04-28-11
    Brenda Charlestown, IN, United States 04-28-11 Member Since 2007

    Happiness is a good book!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    45
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    3
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    "very good"

    It is a good motivation book for running, traveling, starting a new business or just risk taking in general. It is amusing to listen to. I liked it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David New York, NY, United States 10-01-10
    David New York, NY, United States 10-01-10
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    "if you run, give a listen"

    An interesting perspective; if you don't exercise or run, I would probably pass. If you do run, it is a good book to listen on a long run. Good memoir, but is not going to give you any incites on running better.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Aydin Canmore, Alberta, Canada 09-23-10
    Aydin Canmore, Alberta, Canada 09-23-10
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    "Great book about the mindset of runners"

    I actually listened to this book as I ran. It was interesting to listen to something that was connected to what I was doing. In actual fact I'm really a cyclist and was training for a Triathlon and someone at an airport suggested I pick this up. Lots of great little bits about running and how this author reacts to it. This not teach you how to run , but it certainly gives you a perspective from this authors point of view.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Betania Carlsbad, CA, United States 03-19-10
    Betania Carlsbad, CA, United States 03-19-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
    44
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    78
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    "interesting and thoughtful"

    I found this essay interesting and thoughtful; it is probably more interesting if you are a runner, or have read some of Murakami's other novels. Some of his phrases are quite beautiful and I found most of the book interesting.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    SamanthaG Marietta GA 11-22-11
    SamanthaG Marietta GA 11-22-11 Member Since 2010

    SamanthaG

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    "Didn't read "Memoir" in the title"

    I was disapppointed since I didn't realize that this was a memoir of Murakami's running career. I thought it was one of his murder-mysteries that happened to involve a runner on the beach. About 1/3 of the way into it, I realized that I'd made a mistake. To a runner or to someone who has an interest in the sport, I'm sure this would be an enjoyable read - it's well-written and engaging. But, sadly, I have no interest in running or reading about it. I was interested in Murakami's fiction because, over a period of a few days, his name had popped up several times and my curiosity was piqued. So I'm still looking for one of his pieces of fiction.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Suzette Hartford, CT, USA 01-18-09
    Suzette Hartford, CT, USA 01-18-09
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    1
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    "You can't judge a book by it's title either..."

    Although the title was misleading, the book wasn't that bad. I enjoyed the narrator's voice. The book did give me motivation to be active as it will lead to an active mind. At times, I felt like the author discussed writing more than running but I didn't mind as one of my resolutions is to start writing again.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eric PASADENA, CA, United States 02-12-09
    Eric PASADENA, CA, United States 02-12-09 Listener Since 2006
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    "Book about running"

    This book is just about running, which I don't do. I was looking for more meaning and spiritual realizations. What I got was reinforcement of what I always thought about a runner's psychology: A strong fear of growing old and obsession about control.

    1 of 8 people found this review helpful
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