Apostate Café

By Joshua Ellis


Posted in: meaning-beauty-whimsy

! ‘Books 2010: When I Talk About Running…’

! ‘Books 2010: When I Talk About Running…’

Books 2010: When I Talk About RunningFour years ago (2006) I tried to log a year’s worth of reading, and did pretty well. It was my intention to keep the log going, but then little things—like the births of Nolan in 2007 and Jacob in 2009—got in the way; I found myself short on time for things like blogging, and my reading took a serious hit. But I’d like to try it again, so here goes… the first book I finished reading in 2010: Haruki Murakami’s What I Talk About When I Talk About Running.

This book was not quite what I expected: I’d read about it in a Study Hacks posting about “hard focus.” (BTW, Study Hacks, while ostensibly about getting better grades in grad school, discusses much of value to leaders, creative types, and autodidacts.) I didn’t know who Haruki Murakami was until I saw the list of fiction books he’d written: Oh yeah, he’s that Japanese author whose stuff I always mean to read. Despite the title, my hope was that the book would be less about running and more about Murakami’s writing life and his writing process. It wasn’t.

Apropos of the title, the book was mostly about running, or more specifically about one year’s preparation for running the New York Marathon. Murakami’s preparation for the race served as a framework to reminisce, to talk about getting older, to share some of his passions, obsessions, and reflections on life, and to talk a little bit about his writing life and his writing process. So I was disappointed: that was nice, it was a quick read, but not what I wanted. Yet I keep thinking about it. I finished the book two, almost three weeks ago, and little tidbits from it keep popping into my mind. And then earlier this week I brought up a concept from the book in a meeting at work.

In the end I’d have to say it was not the book I expected, but it really was a good book; a great read for the start of 2010.