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What I Talk About When I Talk About Running

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  140,538 ratings  ·  13,395 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 important--on his writing. E ...more
Hardcover, 188 pages
Published July 29th 2008 by Knopf Publishing Group (first published October 15th 2007)
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Paddy 邱平龙 I began running as a result of this book. I had no pretext to read this other than it was recommended by a friend. I think that it is remarkable that …moreI began running as a result of this book. I had no pretext to read this other than it was recommended by a friend. I think that it is remarkable that this book got me running as in no way does Murakami attempt to persuade the reader to start running. Likewise, he gives virtually no advice on how to start or on technique (other that stand tall, relax, breath).

His method of inspiration is so underwhelming, his brand of positivity so melancholic, yet his words leave you (I mean me), simultaneously, feeling so pathetically ordinary and capable at the same time. (less)
Kumari de Silva This is not a "how-to" book, there's no tips whatsoever. It's just a book on what Murakami talks about when he talks about running. It is both general…moreThis is not a "how-to" book, there's no tips whatsoever. It's just a book on what Murakami talks about when he talks about running. It is both generally his thoughts on running and specific descriptions of races he has run(less)

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Sean Barrs
To get through life some people drink copious amounts of alcohol to de-stress. Others smoke tobacco or cannabis. Some try heavier substances. My drug of choice, my way of clearing my head, calming down and escaping for a few hours, is to run. I am an absolute junkie. Sometimes I feel like I live to run. When I’m not reading, writing or cycling to work, then I’m running. It’s a fantastic experience, blasting my favourite psychedelic rock albums as I lose all my troubles on the road. Anyone who ha ...more
Feb 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
*happy sigh*

You know when you read a book and it just speaks to you? Something about the time and place and just all the circumstances match up and you know you read the book at the perfect time? This was that.

My drive to immerse myself in the world of writing keeps growing, and I've found so much fun in collecting books about writers and writing that I can't wait to sink into. I had to start somewhere, so I picked up What I Talk About When I Talk About Running because, back when I bought it a f
Ahmad Sharabiani
Hashiru Koto ni Tsuite Kataru Toki ni Boku no kataru koto = What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, Haruki Murakami

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running is a memoir by Haruki Murakami in which he writes about his interest and participation in long-distance running.

Murakami started running in the early 1980's and since then has competed in over twenty marathons and an ultra-marathon.

Murakami gives reasons that make him run. Physical fitness is important to him and the constant challen
Jack Edwards
Apr 13, 2021 rated it it was ok
This book is literally so pointless
Jun 24, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Elyse  Walters
Feb 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Audiobook.... narrated by Haruki Murakami

Listening to Murakami speak about the very universal way our inner voice functions with random thoughts - like clouds in the sky that come and go - was a little taste of heaven for me.

Given that I, too, was a runner for 25 years of my life - running marathons - and hilly trail half marathons - often beginning my training runs in the dark with a flashlight — this was absolutely a lovely delightful Audiobook. I enjoyed it very much.

I’m familiar with the l
J.L.   Sutton
Apr 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
“Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional. Say you’re running and you think, ‘Man, this hurts, I can’t take it anymore. The ‘hurt’ part is an unavoidable reality, but whether or not you can stand anymore is up to the runner himself.”

What do I talk about when I talk about running

Haruki Murakami’s What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. pairs running and the art of writing (and its demands on focus and endurance). After reading Murakami’s Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage a few weeks ago, I had wanted to read more fro
Jan 11, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019
A collection of personal essays about writing, endurance, and running, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running considers the impact running has had on the author’s life and work. Over the course of nine short essays, Haruki Murakami travels from Tokyo to Boston as he details his training regimen for the 2005 New York City Marathon and reflects on what running means to him. The author argues for approaching running, like writing, as a way to practice self-discipline on a daily basis, but not ...more
It was a rainy evening about seven years ago when I entered a book store. It was the perfect refuge – warm lights, thin crowd, a tea bar and loads of books. I marched to the tea bar, ordered a ginger- mint tea, placed my bag on a chair in the seating area and hopped to the alleys to browse for books while the tea was being brewed. Running my eyes like a squirrel, I was surveying the titles one after another when they came to a halt – they spotted a pristine white cover with a circular swirl in b ...more
Hannah Garden
Apr 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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.
"Most runners run not because they want to live longer, but because they want to live life to the fullest. If you're going to while away the years, it's far better to live them with clear goals and fully alive then in a fog, and I believe running helps you to do that. Exerting yourself to the fullest within your individual limits: that's the essence of running, and a metaphor for life — and for me, for writing as whole."
Haruki Murakami ~~ What I Talk About When I Talk About Running


If you love ru
Jan 20, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2010

"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
Heidi The Reader
Oct 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
In What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, Haruki Murakami doesn't try to convince others that we should all become long distance runners/triathletes like him. He does talk about why he took up running, how it has helped him with his creativity and why he will continue to run as long as he feels the need to do so.

I've never read a book by Murakami, other than this one. But, the interesting way in which he views the world makes me think that I'd probably enjoy his stuff.

I listened to this, r
Michael Finocchiaro
If you are a runner, this book is very inspiring. We learn of why Murakami decided to become a writer, leaving behind his jazz bar and how he also committed to running a marathon every year. It is exhilarating (and encouraging!) to see how he completely (and successfully) changed his life. He has run marathons everywhere including the original Marathon to Athens route (albeit in the wrong season!) and about other long-distance races he ran in. He is a fascinating man (who SO deserves a Nobel!) a ...more
Riku Sayuj
Oct 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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.
Reading_ Tamishly
Apr 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
So many thoughts after reading this memoir!

First of all, I would like to say it's totally bizarre to rate a memoir as is similarly felt by many readers and reviewers. I can understand today what they meant by that.

And yes, I can also totally understand when a memoir is rated really low. I have done so too with the memoirs about celebrities and famous people because I just picked up the 'memoir' without actually knowing the personality at all or when the so called 'memoirs' are just pictures and
Whitney Atkinson
I've been struggling this year with finding forms of exercise I enjoy, so I was hoping this would show me how lifechanging running is. I may have had unrealistic expectations because this is a memoir so it's largely focused on how running affects his own life. I enjoyed it though it didn't really push me one way or another. ...more
Diane S ☔
Jan 23, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: lor
An easy read but very simplistic and very repetitive. Not a runner myself, prefer walking so didn't really relate to that part. The parts about how he started writing was fairly interesting but all in all was disappointed in this book as a whole. Did quite a bit of skimming. ...more
Paul Fulcher
Nov 24, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2017
I finally reach the end. Strangely, have no feeling of accomplishment. The only thing I feel is utter relief that I don’t have to runread this book anymore.

I started this book with two prejudices.

First, that the most tedious dinner party conversations typically start with your interlocutor telling you they are in training to run a marathon.

Secondly that an author’s work should stand alone from the author - I am with Elena Ferrante here - and that writers writing about themselves or even, perhaps
Lee Klein
Jul 11, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Rosie Nguyễn
Apr 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
It is as if the book were written for me. Love it, for very personal reasons, naturally because I love writing and like running. Actually thinking when will be my first marathon before reading this book.

I bassically try to avoid Murakami's novels as I want to be positive and I don't like the sorrow in his stories, it rottens my heart and stings my head. But this book is excellent. There are a mild sadness and deep philosophy typical of him, but it gives me practical lessons and strength to act,
Jun 10, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: murakami
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
Ian "Marvin" Graye
What I Talk about When I Talk about Walking

I was originally more of a sportsman (or a sportsboy) than an athlete.

As a schoolboy, I absolutely hated running any distance over 100 meters. I was the second fastest in my year at the 100 meter sprint (there were two able males in my grade!), and for a while I could even do the 100 meters hurdles. Although I loved surfing and body surfing, I was hopeless at swimming anything but across the pool. I just wasn't made out for anything but team sports (whe
Glenn Sumi
Nov 26, 2014 rated it really liked it

The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Writer

In this slim but not slight memoir, the best-selling and prolific Japanese novelist chronicles why and how he took up long-distance running, which coincided with selling his jazz bar in the early 80s to write full time.

In clear, deceptively simple prose (occasionally hampered by cliché), Murakami touches on intriguing themes like aging and perseverence, making a solid case comparing running to novel-writing. The book, of course, takes its title from Ray
Roy Lotz
I think I enjoyed this book more than its slim contents really justify. This is due to a confluence of interests: Murakami is a marathon-running novelist, and I, too, am a writer (amateur) and runner (very amateur). So a lot of the pleasure of this book was aspirational life-envy. Waking up, working on a piece of fiction, and then heading out for a long run in some scenic spot—this sounds like a perfect day to me.

The book is a kind of meditation on the act of running and what it means to Muraka
Emma Angeline
Sep 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: skillz
Rarely can you have two of your favourite things meet like this in the same place. I’ve read 13 books and run 536km so far this year. Just nice to see a lot of my experiences and feelings about running down in words and as if we’re so spoilt as to have those words be Murakami’s.

Reread April 2020;

Loved this just as much as the first time!! I love how murakami is able to combine discussing passion, writing, and his own morals and mottos all while being incredibly inspirational.

First read April 2018:

This was spectacular, extremely inspiring, motivating, wonderfully written, and eye opening.

Longer review to come at some point.
Feb 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
In this book Haruki Murakami writes about his running life, doing marathons and triathlons. He writes about the successes and failures, the effect of ageing and his reasons why he runs and keeps running. For me, I felt the first half of the book was more clear and easy read than later, a bit like running a marathon can be. The mood throughout shows the author's general character, and the text never gets boring. It's an easy read, not too long.

Although I know I will never pick up running - love
Matt Quann
My running companion over the past two and a half weeks has been Haruki Murakami; at least, narrator Ray Porter channeling Murakami. What I Talk About When I Talk About Running is more empathetic memoir than self-help book, but I have no doubt in my mind that Murakami helped to boost my running game. After a few runs I began to think of the audiobook as a philosophical coach. I’d recommend this memoir to seasoned runners as well as relative newbies like myself!

I decided to only listen to the au
Feb 17, 2022 rated it it was amazing
I was fascinated by this book: as a reader who loves Haruki Murakami's work immensely; as a writer always interested in craft; and as a cyclist who rides between 3,000 and 4,000 miles every season in Vermont. I enjoyed it for all of those reasons. But it was also rich with life lessons about aging, persistence, the nature of pain, the meaning of failure, and (yes) why we do what we do. ...more
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Murakami Haruki (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

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