I’m not a great reader; often it takes me months to finish one book. But once in a while I finally pick up something that just floors me. Last night I resumed a book by one of my favorite authors (I sheepishly have to admit I’ve been at this book for months), Haruki Murakami. The first time I ever heard of Murakami was my sophomore year in college when my then-boyfriend gifted me Murakami’s What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. This was one of those books I read in a matter of hours, and this was the reason I’ve been reading Murakami’s other works (however slowly) ever since.
I spend enough time running and thinking about running that I often shy away from reading entire books about running. What I Talk About When I Talk About Running is everything you might not expect from a “running book”. As he seems to do in so many of his other works, Murakami wrote this book as a means to explore and digest everything that happens in his life. He does not go on at length to give you pro-tips on the best places to run, the best foods to eat, the best racing strategies, none of that bull*. Rather he shares with you everything that is difficult and challenging – and in turn beautiful - about running, and also about life. This book is about accepting and facing everything that life sends our way, and learning to make it a part of who you are. It’s that type of self-exploration that we all hope to achieve throughout life but are also so frightened to endeavor upon. It’s exactly the reason we run. This book is everything that happens to you while you run, in someone else’s words.