Monday, 22 December 2008

What I Talk About

When I was googling just now in search of a site to link the title of this book to, What I talk About When I Talk About Running, I came across Geoff Dyer's review of the book on the NYT site. 

"Come and have a look at this," I called out to PJ, and showed him that when you double click on any word of Dyer's review, a small question mark appears above the word. Click on the question mark and a small window pops up with a dictionary or encyclopedia definition of that word. Has this feature been around a while on the NYT site? I don't know, but it's the first time I have seen it.

This is how Murakami writes. He guides us through the journey of his life, pointing out the incidentals.

The best parts of his journey are when he draws parallels between the slog of a long distance runner and the stamina of a novelist. I loved the parts where he talks about writing; how he came to write, how he came to run, and I don't think there are enough of these passages, especially in the second half of the book where he falls into too dense descriptions of his training towards triathlons.

It's not that these parts were boring, because they weren't, I was engaged from cover to cover, but he is a runner first and foremost and then a swimmer and a cyclist, and this is clearly evident in the prose.

I am not normally a fan of Murakami's writing, but as this is nonfiction I thought I would give it a go. And because I too filter the world according to a theme (a colour), it appealed to me to read a memoir based on a single subject (running).

My conclusion? This is by no means one of the best books I read this year, but I'm really glad I read it.


Manolis said...

That dictionary thing is cool!

I never knew it was available.

And have you seen this?

It makes reading things in French a thousand times easier.

Meg Ulman said...

What a great site! Thanks.