What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami was on my wish list for at least 2 years and it seemed like I was finally getting close to acquiring a copy from Paperback Swap, but when I found a copy at Borders I snatched it up so fast you'd think I was trying to save it from death by bus or dog-chewing or something.
Nah, I just really, really wanted to read it. And, I whipped through it pretty much as soon as I carried it through the door.
What I Talk About When I Talk About Running is writings about Murakami's many years as a runner (which he wrote within the span of a single year), his experiences and feelings about running and how his running connects to his writing. Although I haven't been able to run in recent years, I guess you never lose that feeling of being a runner at heart. I found myself nodding a lot, thinking how cool it was to read similar thoughts to my own.
Do I think non-runners would enjoy What I Talk About, etc.? Well . . . to be honest, not unless you're truly curious about his thoughts on writing -- and even then, he doesn't talk about the process he personally goes through in any detail, although he does mention the elements he thinks writers need in order to be successful and how he organizes his time. Still, even if you're a writer, you might find yourself shaking your head if you really hate running because that's mostly what the book is about -- and running seems to be a love/hate activity. Near as I can tell, you're either on one side of the spectrum or the other. I'm on the "love" end.
Although I've never been as obsessed as Murakami (he has run many marathons, a number of triathlons and even an ultra-marathon), I get his thoughts, for the most part, and I don't think anyone can help but be impressed by his total commitment to whatever he does. Dedicated fans of Murakami may enjoy the book for the peek into his life, but I specifically recommend What I Talk About When I Talk About Running to runners, past and present.
Update: Former blogger Kookie is not a runner and she had this to say about What I Talk About When I Talk About Running:
"I hate running, but I loved this book. I think his experiences in his sport of choice carry over nicely to other sports. Plus, he has such a pleasant, conversational style. I really enjoy his work a lot."
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Kookie!
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