Review: What I Talk About When I Talk About Running

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami

Short, and well crafted by the famous novelist Haruki Murakami, this book will appeal to runners and writers in equal measure.

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running is Murakami's reflection on his many years as a runner, what running has meant to him, and given to him. Written as a series of essays as Murakami trained for the NYC Marathon, it stands out from other running books both for the easy style of his writing, and for how Murakami relates his running to his profession of writing. Among other benefits of running, Murakami says that running has provided the healthy antidote that allows him to continue to delve into the "unhealthy" elements that support the creative process of writing.

Murakami tells us that he's not really a social person, and is quite happy being by himself - a beneficial trait for both running and writing. He doesn't feel a need to give us his life story. But he does share some things - how he became a successful bar owner who sold his bar after gaining success as a writer, how he is the type of person who wants to give his all to everything he does, how he used to smoke 60 cigarettes a day, how critical he can be of himself. All of this, he feels, is reflected in how and why he runs. And, it seems, writing about running has given him the permission to share these details, and some of his personal feelings and philosophy, with all of us, despite his loner disposition. For Murakami, this is a memoir.

As someone who has done a number of marathons and triathlons myself, I can relate to just about all of what Murakami talks about when he talks about running. I really don't understand how I never knew about this book, published in 2007, until now.

I rate Haruki Murakami's What I Talk About When I Talk About Running 4 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐ - I really liked this book and was glad I read it. I liked the easy, sometimes poetic style of writing. I recommend it.

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