What I Talk About When I Talk About Running
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What I Talk About When I Talk About Running

3.72 of 5 stars 3.72  ·  rating details  ·  27,585 ratings  ·  3,125 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 107 books — 309 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 17 books — 426 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.
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
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
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
Megan Baxter
This is, I think, the second book I've read about distance running. I am wondering what my fascination with that is, although truly, I've read both because they came up on various lists. I, myself, am a walker. I love to go for long walks in the morning. Running does not as much appeal.

But then you get Haruki Murakami writing about his life as a runner, and some about his life as a novelist, and it is interesting. And yet, I'm still not entirely sure I get it. I enjoyed reading about this life,...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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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

"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
I love Murakami's dreamy magical realist novels. And I love distance running. So when I heard Murakami had written a book about his experiences as a runner, I figured it would be right up my alley. I was terribly disappointed. The book literally reads like a diary. Here's a typical paragraph: "Out the window of my campus office I watched the snowflakes falling. My physical condition isn't too bad. When I get too tired from training, my legs tend to get heavy and my running is unsteady, but these...more
Joshin John
Reading this book just 4 days after my first 26.2 mile run (full marathon), I could closely relate to Hakuri's joys and pains of running, the experience fresh in my mind. But what baffled me was his description of his first 100 km Ultra-marathon!

During his race between 55 to 75 kms, he says, "My body felt like it was falling apart and would soon come completely undone. Out of oil, the bolts coming loose, the wrong cogs in gear, I was rapidly slowing down as one runner after another passed me...A...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
Perhaps his translator is partly at fault -- I don't speak Japanese, so it'd be impossible for me to check -- but I can't help blaming Haruki Murakami himself for how badly written and uninteresting "What I Talk About When I Talk About Running" is. Given that he does speak, read and translate English, I'm assuming Murakami looked over the English translation of this book before it was published, so I'm holding him responsible. A memoir mostly of his life as a runner of marathons and competitor i...more
I just loved this book. And it just shows my shit for brains that I never wanted to read it before because it was about running. It wasn't until I wanted to try it myself that I thought reading about it from my favorite author might give me some motivation. And the book is definitely motivational. The things this guy has done (something like 24 marathons, 1 ultra marathon =64 miles and 11 hours of running)is astounding to me, and he's so humble and modest about it.

But the best thing was getting...more
This work struck a chord with me. While Murakami primarily wrote about his experiences running and training for various events, it really served as a vehicle for expressing his thought process and life lessons he had learned through the process. Self-deprecating as ever, I found it refreshingly honest and down to earth. I also found that I really related to certain aspects of his personality though I've never trained or ran as a hobby. Not everyone will enjoy this book. If you are looking for tr...more
عالی بود،شایدخیلی وقت بود کتابی انقدرصمیمی نخونده بودم.به مراتب ازداستان کوتاه های موراکامی خصوصا مجموعه ی دیدن دخترصددرصد...بهتربود،ترجمه روان به شیوایی و شیرینی متن کمک کرده بود هرچند که چندغلط فاحش درکتاب دیدم که واقعادوست دارم مترجم مطلع بشودتا اصلاح کند.اگرمثل من در مورد موراکی ومهارتش یا سبک او دچار تردید و تناقض و خوددرگیری هستید،حتما حتما حتما، این کتاب را بخوانید.
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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: https://www.facebook.com/harukimuraka...

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...
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“Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.” 4323 likes
“The most important thing we learn at school is the fact that the most important things can't be learned at school.” 517 likes
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