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What I Talk About When I Talk About Running

3.73 of 5 stars 3.73  ·  rating details  ·  32,216 ratings  ·  3,499 reviews
In 1982, having sold his jazz bar to devote himself to writing, Murakami began running to keep fit. A year later, he'd completed a solo course from Athens to Marathon, and now, after dozens of such races, not to mention triathlons and a dozen critically acclaimed books, he reflects upon the influence the sport has had on his life and even more importantly, on his writing.

Hardcover, 180 pages
Published July 29th 2008 by Knopf (first published 2007)
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Born to Run by Christopher McDougallWhat I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki MurakamiOnce a Runner by John L. Parker Jr.Night Running by Pete DankoEat and Run by Scott Jurek
Best Running (non-instructional) Books
2nd out of 119 books — 350 voters
Kafka on the Shore by Haruki MurakamiNorwegian Wood by Haruki MurakamiThe Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami1Q84 by Haruki MurakamiHard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami
Best Haruki Murakami Books
13th out of 18 books — 487 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Aug 11, 2008 Jessica rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: writing runners; running writers; probably no one else, really
Shelves: phys-ed
I'm a bit baffled by how anyone who's not a distance runner could possibly be interested in this book, but I personally got a lot out of it. This is in spite of the fact that I'm not a Murakami girl, and honestly didn't enjoy the style of this book at all. I always feel when I'm reading him that I've somehow wound up with a crappy translation, but then I realize that I'm reading the same version as all the English-only Murakami lovers out there, so apparently I just don't like the way he writes....more

"Nothing in the real world is as beautiful as the illusions of a person about to lose consciousness."

Murakami's mind has always fascinated me; that he transcends the normal and dull, spreading them into a realistic, dreamlike, colorful, soulful reality, amazes me. And I think when most of us read someone that fascinates and/or amazes us, we want to know what that person is like -- what makes him or her tick. And obviously we're almost always disappointed: an amazing mind doesn't equal an amazing...more
Hannah  Messler
This was great! But I was kind of hoping it would make me want to quit smoking and start being a runner. It did not. If anything, it solidified my already-pretty-solid hatred of the idea of running. God damn stupid healthy Haruki.
An ideal book for writer runners (or running writers), but also probably worth it for non-running/non-writing readers as there's enough straight talk and suggestion about serious themes: enduring pain, aging, the importance of routine, self-awareness/alertness. Quick, lean, honest, at times amazing, occasionally mundane, definitely worthwhile. BUT WAIT! The really cool thing about this book is that it's also about authority. Murukami has run +25 marathons (including a +62-mile supermarathon) and...more
Apr 29, 2013 Zenmoon rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Murakami, or sports fans
Shelves: murakami, memoir

As a non-runner, this is likely to be the one and only book I’ll ever read about running so it’s just as well it’s written by Murakami. This is my second read of it (yes really … non-runner) and it’s a lot less about writing than I remember it. Until he writes a memoir dedicated to an analysis of his life and his work though (if ever), barring discussing it in articles, this is probably the closest I’ll get. Reading this is proof positive that I’ll read anything written by this man, though I’d h...more
Riku Sayuj
I must say that I am very thankful to this book for getting me back into the habit of running and giving me a ready made excuse to spend 45 minutes of my time thus.
Spare and meditative. I'm not a runner (more of an elliptical guy) but this book is as much about aging, creativity, acceptance, and finding your own peace with who you are (ok, that sounds way more new agey than I mean) as marathons. Murakami fans will recognize the author's lean, simple prose and new readers may find an easy introduction to Murakami's work. Don't be fooled by the slim nature of this volume; you can tell Murakami put a lot of soul into What I Talk About When I Talk About Runnin...more
K.D. Absolutely
I bought this book almost two years ago after reading Haruki Murakami's Kafka on the Shore (4 stars) and The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle (4 stars). I liked those novels a lot so I purchased and read most of his other books right away like Sputnik Sweetheart (3 stars), After Dark (4 stars), Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman (3 stars), After the Quake (1 star - this used to be 3 stars until I saw my brother's review) and even his biography, Haruki Murakami and the Music of Words (3 stars). A couple of month...more

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

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As close to a Murakami memoir as we're likely to receive for quite some time.

I'm not making any secret of it, I am two weeks shy of my 30th birthday (original text written previously, obviously because I just wrote my brithday blogpost) and my health and fitness levels have been at all time lows in the past twelve months. I think back to when I was a younger man and wonder about the transition from athletic bo...more
3½ stars

Haruki Murakami is new to me, but evidently not to many: he has quite a number of fans on Goodreads. I decided that by way of introduction, I would begin with reading his Memoir because the title suggests it’s about running, and I like to think of myself as a runner. The book jacket goes further, telling us that Murakami reflects upon the influence running has had on, not only his life, but, more importantly, on his writing. He runs; I run. He writes novels; I’m writing a novel. Why woul...more
Đây không phải là một bài review, chỉ là mình viết lảm nhảm về những suy nghĩ của mình sau khi đọc hơn một nửa cuốn sách này. Mình thấy thật là hay vì mình đọc cuốn này ngay sau khi đọc lại lần thứ 2 cuốn" Tuổi trẻ, Tình yêu, Lý tưởng" của Thích Nhất Hạnh. Đọc 2,3 cuốn sách của Thích Nhất Hạnh có thể thấy ông là một người cổ súy cho lối sống chậm rãi, ung dung, nhàn nhã : "Giấc mơ Việt Nam là dân tộc Việt Nam biết để thì giờ ra để đi chơi, ngồi chơi, leo núi, đi biển, sống với cảnh đẹp thiên nhi...more
Ora so quante maratone ha corso
quanti chilometri ha mediamente percorso nell'arco degli ultimi 20 anni
quante volta gli si sono infiammate le ginocchia
quante volte i polsi gli hanno causato problemi
che non è socievole (no, non è timido, non è socievole, giuro l'ha scritto lui, almeno 15 volte!)
quante volte ha avuto caldo
quante volte ha avuto freddo
quante volte mentre correva ha pensato: "vorrei una birra ghiacciata" quante volte ha ripetuto come un mantra: "le mie ginocchia non ne volevan...more
Jul 06, 2014 Jareed rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Long Distance Runners, those Looking for a good playlist while running
Reading this was like buying a new pair running shoes, not only did it got me really giddy and excited to run, it actually helped me to go on a run!
Mar 05, 2014 Caris rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2014
Running in downtown Phoenix is typically a mundane and rather warm experience. There's a lot of traffic and stoplights.

Sometimes it's a little bit interesting, though. One guy recently tried desperately to show me his junk as I ran by. Another dude I was stuck at a stoplight with licked his lips suggestively at me and murmured sweet nothings while gazing intently into my eyes. Another time, a homeless man wearing a dress chased me for a block. And a stripper just ending her shift yelled that I...more
I think I'm hitting my GoodReads "reviewing" wall because I can't seem to come up with anything interesting to say about books these days. It's all, "I loved Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, but did you watch Homeland last night?" Or, "what did you think of Heat? Shut up, I'm listening to Babel." Or the worst one of all, "What did I think about the Murakami memoir? I'll just ignore you because I'm going to watch Cloud Atlas", which as a book I've started and stopped about 20 million times alrea...more
Jan 11, 2010 Dini rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Murakami fans
Recommended to Dini by: Cici
Haruki Murakami can be daunting at times. I've only read a few of his works; some I don't understand (e.g. The Elephant Vanishes, an anthology which I didn't finish) while some I don't really like (Norwegian Wood). But this book I love, because it's understandable (unlike most of his novels, that deal with the surreal) and likeable. In this memoir Murakami does not only discuss his lifelong passion for distance running, but also its relationship with his vocation as a writer and his life as a wh...more
Actually I'm updating my star rating to 4 because bits of this keep coming into my mind, haunting me.
.3 and a half stars. Haruki Murakami's memoirs about running and writing. While I said it's motivational, it doesn't read like a how to run or how to write book, it more puts you in a certain mindscape - Murakami's that is....and if you can take something from it and it enlarges your life he would be happy. It made me "feel good" about myself, and changed the way I view "failure" in sport/exercis...more
Eu corredora assumida (apesar de estar de castigo por tempo indeterminado) … fez-me tão bem ler este livro.
Nenhum escritor que não fosse simultaneamente corredor, seria capaz de escrever assim.
Sou duplamente fã de Haruki Murakami: corre tão bem e escreve melhor ainda!

"Enquanto corro, vou dizendo a mim mesmo para pensar num rio. Pensa nas nuvens, digo. Mas no fundo não estou a pensar em nada de concreto. Continuo, pura e simplesmente, a correr nesse confortável vazio que me é tão familiar, no int...more
Fahima Jaffar
ليس من صنف الكتب العظيمة التي ستحدث بها أصدقاءك - المهووسين منهم بالكتب طبعاً ! - كلما جمعكم حديث عن القراءة،
ولا من الكتب التي تود أن تمسك قلماً وتعلّم كل عبارةٍ فيه بخطٍ أو اثنين، أو قلوبٍ أو نجومٍ صغيرة، أو بقوسين. أو إن كنت أكثر رهافة، فستمسك دفترك الصغير لتدون من جديد هذه العبارات التي لا تتكرر.
لكنها ليست قراءة تود أن تتخلص منها بسرعة، أو أن تقذف الكتاب في أقرب حاوية أو تعيد عقارب الزمن كي لا تشتريه - ليس بالنسبة لي على الأقل - .

الكتابُ - رغم شاعرية عنوانه - ليس شاعرياً جداً. هو وصفٌ أوتوبيو...more
What I Talk About When I Talk About Running is a memoir by Haruki Murakami where he talks about his interest in running. From running for pleasure to competing in over twenty marathons and an ultramarathon. Part training log, travelogue and reminiscence, this is a memoir of Murakami’s passion for running.

Now I’m not a runner and I don’t think I ever will be but I like to read about people being passionate about a topic and although this was brief, the passion was not in short supply. Most people...more
Kali Srikanth
Mar 15, 2014 Kali Srikanth rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: all Men, all woman running-writers/writing-runners & Murakami fans.
This world doesn't belong to those who can run faster, but to those who can run longer, an Extra Mile

There was this time, on these wintry mornings, I used to get up early which is kind of bad-idea to a Night-hawk like me. I run for 40 minutes or so starting from my home into these awe-inspiring landscapes which would run into subsequent villages, and then I would walk all the way back home. I abdicated whole of this idea of running once summer’s scorching temperatures arrived.

Eighteen months la...more
Yet another way in which Haruki Murakami is more awesome than you: not only does he write amazing novels and nifty short stories, he’s also a long-distance runner who’s raced in marathons, triathalons, and even a day-long supermarathon in Hokkaido. This book, the first piece of nonfiction I’ve read by him, chronicles a year in his life as a runner. I liked it less than his fiction. Parts are slow: the endless tally serious runners have to make of distances run in such-and-such lengths of time. I...more
My three big passions are running, jazz and reading and they rank so closely together that the order changes depending on how I feel at any given time. So, when I heard that writer, jazz aficionado and distance runner, Haruki Murakami (a former Jazz club owner in Japan) had published a memoir about his love for running, I couldn't wait to read it. Well, I started this book several years ago and for some reason after reading several chapters, the excitement I had built up just wasn't there for me...more
Jul 19, 2011 Halik rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All runners, everywhere
Recommended to Halik by: Carmen
Shelves: non-fiction
Loved the tome. Murakami puts into words pieces of running insight so eloquently that the moment i finished the book, i grabbed my shoes and hit the asphalt. I stopped for a bit cause my shoes were giving me trouble, and i need to make some huaraches (or barefoot runners) probably but that is unimportant.

I used to run in the beach at my old home before, and loved it. There is something glorious about simply moving your feet one after the other, propelling yourself through the air, pretty soon yo...more
Nov 19, 2008 Danika rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: runners
Y'know, I did not love this book. I certainly wouldn't recommend it to anyone who is not a runner. It's way too specific and longwinded for a non-runner to appreciate. Here's my gripe: he's WAY too wrapped up in times and doesn't seem to enjoy long-distance running for the sake of it. For instance, he plans to run the NYC marathon one year and his goals are 1) to finish 2) to NEVER walk, only run and 3) to enjoy himself. Sorry, but I think that's crazy! Who cares if you walk for a bit? And enjoy...more

To be honest, I have zero interest in running; I just read this to perhaps get a voyeuristic glimpse into the brain of someone who consistently pens enjoyable off-kilter contemporary fiction: to see what makes Haruki Murakami "tick".

While he still remains as enigmatic as his fiction (What I Talk About When I Talk About Running is somewhat skimpy on non-running-related aspects of his personal life), the book is still highly enjoyable. He does, in an oblique way, describe how his training regimen...more
Tigran Mamikonian
Одной из самых любопытных фраз книги мне показалось само название, но как признается автор и ее он позаимствовал у какого-то писателя, у которого был роман "What I talk about when I talk about love...".

Красной нитью в книге идет обоснование той важности, которую Харуки видит для себя в беге, в частности в том, что именно в беге в основном идет соревнование с сами собой, появляется возможность "очистить" голову от каких-то мыслей, а также достигается объективная оценка достижения при преодолении...more
This book signaled to me why this year has been so tough -- my life strayed from its usual structure and important rituals, leaving me on a slippery footing for most of 2012. The absence of regular bikram practice was felt most deeply. Bikram helps me establish and maintain grace and focus in life outside of the practice room. The same words and series of poses form the foundation of each practice and set a kind of baseline allowing you to understand the nuanced ways your body changes each day....more
I understand that the title is based on Raymond Carver's "What we talk about when we talk about love" (which I want to read now), but I do think that a more accurate title for Murakami's musings on running would have been "What I think about when I think about running" (or even "... when I'm running") given that these are his private thoughts jotted down over a period of about 18 months, with no particular audience/readership in mind. Apart from attending a tri-athelete training camp in Honolulu...more

"Nothing in the real world is as beautiful as the illusions of a Person about to lose consciousness."

I relate to this quote. After a long run, one kind of feels very close to this line.
A good book. It’s an honest memoir and for that reason I think only 3 in 10 may carry on reading it. A friend read it, ‘You won’t believe how boring his life is, take it anyway’ he told me. But then he does not run and for those who run - this book is a nice read.
The writing is unlike Murakami; there are not man...more
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Haruki Murakami (Japanese: 村上 春樹) is a popular contemporary Japanese writer and translator. His work has been described as 'easily accessible, yet profoundly complex'. He can be located on Facebook at:

Since childhood, Murakami has been heavily influenced by Western culture, particularly Western music and literature. He grew up reading a range of works by Am...more
More about Haruki Murakami...
Norwegian Wood Kafka on the Shore The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle 1Q84 (1Q84, #1-3) Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World

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“Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.” 4852 likes
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