Adventures in Reading

Nonfiction: Haruki Murakami’s What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, 2008

If you’re interested in running, or interested in writing, or interested in Haruki Murakami, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running* is “a kind of memoir centered on the act of running” that’s both an enjoyable and thoughtful read. Through this collection of essays and comprehensive journal entries, Murakami reflects on his start at running and novel writing, and how running has affected his life as a novelist.

I wouldn’t say What I Talk About… is one of Murakami’s most enlightening or brilliant works and it doesn’t have a mass appeal, but it does offer a curious insight into his life as an author. With the odd philosophical asides, this was a book I enjoyed and that inspired me to run (despite the cold!) and has re-interested me in reading more of Murakami’s works.

*A play on a Raymond Carver’s short story collection entitled What We Talk About When We Talk About Love.



i really need to read something by him!! I hadn’t heard of him until a few months ago (and did add Kafka on the Shore to my shelf), but now I’m seeing his name everywhere!

Comment by Trish

Trish: Murakami is definitely an author I can get behind; I started with his short story collection The Elephant Vanishes.

Comment by bookchronicle

This rather reminds me of a movie I saw ages ago: The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner directed by Vanessa Redgrave’s former husband, Tony Richardson. Not that the book and movie share the same theme, but I was struck that the act of running (and the discipline it takes to achieve one’s running goal), can transform one’s inner life. I’ve only run a half-marathon, but the act was life changing.

Comment by Vic (Ms. Place)

Clearly a disciplined guy. I found that to be remarkable, the book not so much. Lots and lots of self-analysis regarding his running. He lost me at the extreme marathoning… The careful way he looks at things seems to be part of what makes his fiction writing so interesting, however.

Comment by Maggi Brown

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