- File Size: 1994 KB
- Print Length: 194 pages
- Publisher: Vintage (July 29, 2008)
- Publication Date: July 29, 2008
- Sold by: Random House LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B0015DWJ8W
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #63,676 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
|Print List Price:||$16.00|
Save $3.01 (19%)
Random House LLC
Price set by seller.
What I Talk About When I Talk About Running (Vintage International) Kindle Edition
|New from||Used from|
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Customers who bought this item also bought
Would you like to tell us about a lower price?
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
I loved most of it. I found his philosophy with both running and writing to be similar to mine. There are many things that someone who’s not an endurance athlete can’t understand so maybe this book speaks to a narrow audience. But I’m glad to be a member of that audience. I found myself nodding along. I’d read a free sample on my Kindle, then found a used paperback to buy so I could underline passages and make notes in the margin. I loved this book so much I penciled it up.
Now that I’ve seen this glimpse into his mind I want to try his novels, too.
I would not say this is “equal parts training log, travelogue, and reminiscence,” as the book description does. It includes all those things, but not in equal parts. It’s a series of essays that he wrote, mostly during his training for the 2005 New York City Marathon, but the memories take him to other races and other periods of his life, and on a whirlwind tour of his stomping grounds across Hawaii, Boston, Greece, and Japan.
Every time the writer talks about a runner or a writer he uses masculine pronouns. The only times women are mentioned is when the author objectifies some Harvard female runners. While he's busy talking about their "proud ponytails" and long strong legs, he doesn't miss to say that "these girls probably don't know as much as I do about pain".
NOT A RUNNER'S BOOK
This guy has no idea what he's talking about. He has been running marathons for 25 years and his best time is around 3h30m?! You don't have to run a 2h marathon to be a runner, but his practices are RIDICULOUS. I hope no one is reading this book to learn from this "runner". He just does long runs (almost) every day and that's it - no thought in the training process, NOTHING! Not to mention that when he talks about his winter in Boston and the lack of opportunities to run due to the bad weather he says: "So we give up running and instead try to keep in shape by swimming in indoor pools, pedaling away on those worthless bicycling machines". This guy hasn't heard of functional training or anything else but running. He only knows how to put on his Mizunos (beware of ads!) and jog for 1h+.
Repetitive, lots of back and forths, uneventful.
Oftentimes I'll pick up a book, read a few lines, and quickly close the covers. I'll instinctively know that no matter how much I want to read it that that book's message was meant for a later time. And sure enough, years later, I'll spot the book on the corner of my shelf and be moved to pick it up, only to find exactly what I needed to hear. It's funny how life, and reading, works that way.
Other times I'll find a book in the most random way - through a footnote or a random citation in an obscure periodical, for instance - and that book's message will be exactly what I needed to hear at that moment in my life. That was certainly the case with Japanese novelist Karuki Murakami's wonderful little book, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running.
While training for the New York City Marathon Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami decided to write about it as well. What materialized was a unique memoir that discusses his twin passions of writing and running, and the interesting way they nurture and inform each other.
I've been struggling as of late staying focused on the hard work of writing, so when I opened the book and read the following lines I knew that a message that I needed to hear had found me:
"One runner told of a mantra his older brother, also a runner, had taught him which he's pondered ever since he began running. Here it is: Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional. Say you're running and you start to think, Man this hurts, I can't take it anymore. The hurt part is an unavoidable reality, but whether or not you can stand any more is up to the runner himself. This pretty much sums up the most important aspect of marathon running."
If you feel called to creative work, and are struggling with finding the discipline necessary to create a body of work, you'll find this playful, oftentimes philosophical memoir food for your soul.
Aside from the joy of gaining insight from his decades of experience, I found the author to be respectable, humble, and generally just a likable guy. Id' love to have coffee with him pick his brain some more. I found his humility and honesty refreshing and rare in a field where I am accustomed to sensationalized, horn-tooting tales of superatletes. I liked that he opened up about limits that come with aging, (though he's still faster than I may ever be) and how the love of running can wax and wann over time. Humility is an aspect often left out when people talk about running, but I find that at times I leave for a run expecting to feel a great sense of accomplishment, and return humbled instead, and those runs are every bit as important. I am grateful that he touched on those feelings.
Running is such a metaphor for life, it only makes sense that a writer may be an avid runner. I often write in my head while I run, and I enjoyed this account of someone who has been doing both for decades.
Top international reviews
Overall it wont be to everyones taste but to me i enjoyed it, i just hope he releases an in depth book into his life.
Highly recommend to the reader interested in the subject.
As you would expect from a writer of his pedigree, a book about the activity he has pursued since 1982, running, is about much more that the non-runner/running-averse can get their teeth into. As the writer himself says in Chapter One: "running is both exercise and a metaphor." (p10) This philosophy is made apparent in the approach he has taken to writing and presenting this book, and he subsequently reveals much of his inner-self as reflected upon the choices he has made and those activities he has chosen to pursue.
This is not a brash book revealing a brash personality boosted by the buzz of running. No, it's a book about an individual constantly reinventing and fighting to find elements of a self that he is content to call his own. I think this is something we can all relate to, whatever lifestyle choices we make or have made.
Of course, as a runner, a reader of Haruki and a bit of a word-doodler, you could say that this is a book tailored to me. Again, I think the book's reach is far broader than that: as a reader, I enjoy opening my mind to experiences that lie beyond my own world, as you can only really be enlightened by that which you don't already know or have realised.
That's not to say that this book, as I have already mentioned, doesn't have any value for those to whom it appears to be made, such as me: far from it. Through reading the reflections of someone as perceptive as Murakami on issues we - well 'I', for sure - have all wrestled with or experienced, you are able to smile at a metaphorical moment shared and/or be comforted by a familiar problem or obstacle surmounted.
Yes, I guess, for me, the time with this book was like time spent with a good friend: we talked, we laughed, we consoled, we supported, and then we went home. It was all-too-brief and we haven't changed the world, but the time we spent together was special and a great comfort to us both.
And for those of you whose world of experience falls beyond that of Haruki, running and writing, you are, therefore, in a position to be enlightened, in some small way, about an aspect of each, which takes me back to what I enjoy about a book and, consequently, makes me think that you'd enjoy it, too.
Which is a long-winded way of reiterating that I think there is something in this short book for everyone that, whilst not maybe world-changing, is life-affirming and entertaining, and isn't that really enough to expect?
Feel free to check out my blog which can be found on my profile page.
I have read it in Greek (gift from mum) and it was quite interesting to go into the mind of a frequent marathon runner!
I have done a half marathon and doing another one soon, maybe a full marathon in the future, gets more interesting towards the second half of the book. Would recommend to first time half marathon runners that want some idea of what it is all about.
Interesting to find out how running affects your life and clears your mind, as well as contributing to travelling for races and socialising. Setting goals and accomplishing them....its all in your mind and mental strength.
My friend said it was good and enjoyable to read.
Put those shoes on, look up and keep smiling!
This is not a book for people who are looking to learn about running techniques, nutrition, or time improvement. It is simply a series of essays by Murakami about his running experiences, loosely structured around his training for the New York marathon. Long distance runners will understand and empathise with his tales of grueling training and motivations for running. Writers will find the comparisons he draws between running and writing fascinating.
Those who are active in measured sports like distance running are more likely to see the marching of the years add onto their times than most, and Murakami is no exception. Some of the most interesting and poignant passages are about his aknowledgement and acceptance of encroaching old age.
Definitely one for both runners and fans of Murakami.
This book is so inspirational and encouraging with running and with writing. Murakami is so humble, and he writes beautifully as usual.
I loved reading it and was sad when I reached the end.
Read it if you are one or more of the following; a runner/beginning runner, a writer, a Haruki Murakami fan.
Without going into much detail, I think far from being merely a means of physical transformation and maintaining well being, I think running has subtly altered my outlook on life. Murakami explores this and many other ideas based on he's experience as a runner and writer, the net effect being a book that resonates powerfully and provides an interesting framework for further introspection on what running has meant to me. Highly recommended!
P.S- My favourite passage: "Exerting yourself within your individual limits is the essence of running- and a metaphor for life".