I finished Haruki Murakami’s What I Talk About When I Talk about Running on Tuesday, January 26, meaning I’m 26 days into my 365-day Book Challenge and have already checked two books off the list. This is good.
But Murakami also wrote a little book called Kafka on the Shore, which Rob read last year and has been nagging encouraging me to read. I figured it’d be good to follow up a memoir-type book by Murakami with one of his novels, so I’ve added Kafka on the Shore to my Book Challenge and started reading it the same day I finished What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. This is not good.
And Murakami mentioned The Great Gatsby more than once in What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, and that’s another that Rob read last year and has been encouraging me to read, so I added that to my Book Challenge too. Double not good. So now I’m a little ahead of my original schedule, but I’ve bulked up that list at the same time. This is the very nature of having a To Read list anyway, right? *sigh* I wonder how long my list will be on December 31,2010 . . .
Oh, but you want to hear about What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, right? It is great.
If you are a runner who writes / a writer who runs (however you define yourself), go buy it right now, I can’t believe you haven’t read it yet. If you’ve already read it, you should lend your copy to another writer / runner friend. (That’s how I got it in my hands–thanks, Sarah!) If you have a runner / writer you need to buy a gift for, you’ve found that gift.
Murakami is a long-distance runner, and he’s one of those runners whose body was obviously made for running (I am not one of those runners). When he started running, he had just quit his job to write full time.
I am in a similar situation right now, so this book and his habits–running at least an hour every day–are giving me some crazy ideas. For example, as I was falling asleep the other night, I was seriously considering just running from my house to National and running up to campus and back, just to see if I could do it. (It’s about 10 miles.) If the weather was better that next day, I might have tried it. Don’t know how far I would have gotten before I called someone to come pick me up.*
It’s a great book to read for running inspiration. He’s very real about his struggles, successes, and failures in running. He’s an excellent writer, so it’s an easy, enjoyable read. I particularly enjoyed when he painted scenes with his words–running in autumn in Cambridge, running an unofficial marathon from Athens to Marathon in stifling heat, and running an ultramarathon at Lake Saroma, Hokkaido, Japan.
* I can run 10 miles, but it’s usually not a good idea to go from “I’ve only logged 8 miles in the last two months” to “Hey, I’ll go see if I can run 10 miles at once, just for the fun of it.” “Just for the fun of it” running experiments don’t usually end well, in my experience. :)