Murakaml, Haruki. What I Talk About When I Talk about Running: a Memoir. New York: Afred A. Knopf, 2008.
They say it’s common when something gets lost in the translation. But, what does it mean when something is found in it? Haruki’s What I Talk About… speaks to me on so, so, so many different levels, despite the fact that it is translated from the Japanese by Philip Gabriel. Whenever I review a book I like to pick one or two quotes – excerpts from the book that evoke a reaction in me. Ranging from “aha, I never thought of it that way!” to “EXACTLY! This person gets it!” and everything in between. With What I Talk About… I found seven different passages to quote in the first 17 pages. If I were to point out every sentence I loved I would end up quoting the whole book. That wouldn’t exactly encourage people to go out and buy it for themselves and I’m pretty sure Haruki (and his lawyers!) would have some copyright issues to discuss with me.
To say that I loved every page of this book is an understatement. It is better to say I connected with every word. I’m not the runner that Haruki is. I don’t run 2 miles a day let alone the 6 or 8 he does six days a week!And I don’t necessarily agree with his choice of music (I have no clue who Gorillaz is. I am a Get Offa My Cloud kinda girl). But, how he feels about running gets me to the core. He talks about not being a competitive person – neither am I. He talks about not hating to be alone – me neither. He talks about running as a spiritual thing, something to hold sacred. How many times have I said the run is 75% emotional, 25% physical? Haruki even shares my opinion about a brand of running shoe (no bells, whistles or gimmicks but gets the job done). I found myself exclaiming, “yes, exactly!” on nearly every page. Which had me wondering…if Nancy Pearl became a runner and wrote another Book Lusty book, would What I Talk About… make it into a chapter? I bet it would. The only other thing I have to say is go read it for yourself. It’s that good.