"Eyeshot's Readerly Resonance Chamber" Presents:
What I Talk About When I Talk About Running
By Haruki Murakami
An ideal book for writer runners (or running writers), but also probably worth it for non-running/non-writing readers as there's enough straight talk and suggestion about serious themes: enduring pain, aging, the importance of routine, self-awareness/alertness. Quick, lean, honest, at times amazing, occasionally mundane, definitely worthwhile. BUT WAIT! The really cool thing about this book is that it's also about authority. Murukami has run +25 marathons (including a +62-mile supermarathon) and written several novels. He's repeatedly done very difficult things to do. It makes sense to listen up when someone like him talks about what he talks about when he talks about how he's sucessfully spent his life. Some seem to object that this book wouldn't have been published by an unpublished author. But the deal is it COULDN'T HAVE BEEN WRITTEN by anyone else.
This second paragraph is more a review of a book review than a review of a book: we just read Geoff Dyer's kind of idiotic review in the Book Review. It's sort of idiotic because half of it is sort of devoted to the translated use of "sort of" and "kind of." We used to really like Geoff Dyer, but we think he just pretty seriously slipped. Much better would've been a quick suggestion that a Knopf editor could have cleaned things a bit, or a more generous approach saying that the "sort of" repetitions make for easy, conversational, congenial reading, or maybe even an interpretative stretch about a Japanse hesitancy to make unqualified assertions?
Instead, Geoff Dyer condescends to Murakami (a man who's written how many novels and run how many marathons?) when Dyer suggests that Murakami is uncool for listening to Clapton or the Lovin' Spoonful! We're sure when Dyer writes about fingerblasting his girlfriend in Southeast Asia ("my fingers grew so wet it was like oil pouring through them"), he listens to something way cooler - my guess: later work of Todd Rundgren. The immortal masterpieces of Sting? Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan's duets with Eddie Vedder? The Buena Vista Social Club?!
We also realized yesterday that this book helped our endurance while
on a long run - wasn't feeling so hot but we thought of Haruki on the 62+
mile run and made it all the way home without stopping. If just to please
Geoff Dyer, you ask what were we listening to? "Paris
au Printemps," a live album by Public Image Limited -- our ideal running
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