Haruki Murakami’s What I Talk About When I Talk About Running was a meditative and light memoir at times resembling a collection of David Sedaris’ short autobiographical insights from When You Are Engulfed in Flames. Murakami compiles together runner’s logs he’s kept of his marathon running and training experiences over his past two and a half decades as a writer. Stories include his decision to quit his Jazz bar to become a full-time writer, and consequently a runner, his daily runs along the Charleston River in Cambridge, ultramarathon in Hokkaido, and triathalon in Honolulu. His short book (only 180 pages) is both simple hearted and philosophical.
In on particularly fitting quote, Haruki writes of his experience running his 62 mile ultramarathon at Lake Saroma, Hokkaido. Towards the middle of the run, muscles aching and barely working from exhaustion, Murakami muses: “The sky and wind, the grass, thre reality, the past, memory – these mean nothing to me. Just getting me past the next three yards – that was my tiny reason for living as a human.” This is one of those short novels I’d pick up again on an airplane or a summer day by the beach, to recollect an optimistic vision of daily life written through the consistent act of running.