⭑⭑½ (2.5/5 see book reviews)


What I Talk About When I Talk About Running is a short memoir by the famed novelist Haruki Murakami focused on his training for the New York Marathon in 2005. The book takes its title from a collection of short stories by Raymond Carver: “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love.”

Murakami recounts his start in running and writing the early 1980s as well as his experiences in triathlons—the first time he ran 26.2 miles it was from Athens to Marathon the opposite of the original marathon1.

A cultural idea of writing as being unhealthy pervades this book and is totally foreign to me:

So from the start, artistic activity contains elements that are unhealthy and antisocial.

Haruki Mauarakami

Murakami talks about how he struggled to control his breathing during the swimming portion of triathlons and he later realized he was hyperventaliting—I’m pretty sure that happens to me while running.

It’s a short read, but pretty meh. There’s some male gaze bits Harvard freshmen co-ed’s “proud ponytails” that weirded me out.


  • Title: What I Talk About When I Talk About Running
  • Author: Haruki Murakami
  • Pages: 192
  • Format: Audiobook
  • Publisher: Vintage
  • ISBN: 0307389839
  • Genre: Memoir

  1. Which is an idea I’d love to steal.↩︎