Book Review: What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami

(General note: I decided to stop labeling my book reviews with a number because I am posting them out of order so I can post about series all at once.) 

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running

Last year I completed my first half marathon while reading a book about running, so I figured I would continue the tradition this year. I can’t really remember how I learned about this book right now, but it was recommended somewhere so I got a copy from Barnes & Noble. Here is their summary:

“An intimate look at writing, running, and the incredible way they intersect, from the incomparable, bestselling author Haruki Murakami.While simply training for New York City Marathon would be enough for most people, Haruki Murakami’s decided to write about it as well. The result is a beautiful memoir about his intertwined obsessions with running and writing, full of vivid memories and insights, including the eureka moment when he decided to become a writer. By turns funny and sobering, playful and philosophical, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running is rich and revelatory, both for fans of this masterful yet guardedly private writer and for the exploding population of athletes who find similar satisfaction in athletic pursuit.”

what i talk about

My rating: 2/5 stars. As the description states, this book is a memoir. To me it seemed more like a memoir about the author’s life—particularly his writing career—than a book/memoir about running. I honestly didn’t really like this book. There were some parts I could relate to, but I mostly felt belittled by the author, who makes at least one memorable comment about fat runners (I am an overweight runner) and prides himself on his ability to run an entire race without stopping to walk (I am a proud believer in the Galloway method, and I don’t think that makes me any less of a runner). I also struggled to see the overall message/point of the book (the “so what?” if you will).

If anyone has any running books they’d recommend, please let me know!

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