Tuesday, January 06, 2009

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running - Partial Diary of a Writer & Runner

Just finished reading What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami. He is a self proclaimed writer first and then a runner. He has been running long distance since 1983 and has over 25 marathons to his credit.

Murakami-san wrote this book in a journal / log format that chronicles his training leading up 2005 NYC Marathon. It is part training log and part travelog as he talks training in many parts of the world. (Tokyo, Athens, Murakami city, Hawaii, Boston, Central Park and a few other places I can't recollect).

I particularly liked his log about running his first unofficial marathon in Athens traversing the original route in reverse.

Another thing that stood out was what Murakami-san would like his gravestone to say

Haruki Murakami
1949 - 20**
Write (and Runner)
At Least He Never Walked

That got me thinking about my tombstone. Ofcourse I will not have one as I will be cremated. But if I had one.. I would like it to say..

Ram Viswanathan
1962 - 20**
He Made a Difference

Now back to the book..
Not sure if Murakami-san wrote this book in Japanese first and then got it translated. His style of story telling does take little bit of getting used.

This was my first running book and perhaps wasn't the most appropriate choice to open the account. Nevertheless I kind of enjoyed his meandring log . It helped me come up a simple simple rule for myself.."Never miss a run for two consecutive days".

Bottom Line.. Not a gripping read, but if you are a runner, you will appreciate few things Murakami-san is saying. Also, you might end up learning a few tricks as well.

Next Book: Haven't decided on it yet. My son loaned me Robin Sharma's Who will cry when you die, but not sure if I will read it so soon (I just read Mr. Sharma's Greatness Guide 2 before Murakami-san's). Might read the abridged version of Bhagavatham (பாகவதம்) again.


  1. after cribbing about the 300 bucks i found this book worth every paisa and more! wonderful read.. though ur right about getting through the initial part.. thereafter murakami-san is on a roll.. couldnt put it down once i got through the first couple of pages... thoroughly enjoyable!

    thanks! ...my tombstone? hey.. he'll be back someday! :))) gone fr a run!! upstairs..

    cheers Ram..good luck for the 09 course!!

  2. Ram,

    You should have read some of his fiction before reading this. You are right..its takes a little while to get used to his style of writing. He is very well known in Japan and was asked to translate books like Great Gatsby and Catcher in the Rye to Japanese. He is so popular there that he had to flee to Harvard/Boston for a few years. Try to get hold of this book called "More Fire". I am actively looking for it


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