I have never read any of Japanese author Haruki Murakami’s books and I wasn’t planning to read any of his books this month. However, when a friend recommended his book What I Talk About When I Talk About Running to me, I couldn’t resist.
The book reads like a memoir and gives you a peak into Murakami’s life as a writer and runner. The book is interesting, inspiring and full of great insights. You will love it if you are a runner or if you are a fan of Murakami’s.
Here are some of my favourite quotes from the book.
1. “I’m the kind of person who likes to be by himself. To put a finger point on it, I’m the type of person who doesn’t find it painful to be alone. I find spending an hour or two every day running alone, not speaking to anyone, as well as four or five hours alone at my desk, to be neither difficult nor boring. I’ve had this tendency ever since I was young, when, given a choice, I much preferred reading books on my own or concentrating on listening to music over being with someone else. I could always think of things to do by myself.”
2.“Quitting smoking was a symbolic gesture of farewell to the life I used to lead.”
3.“The most important thing we learn at school is the fact that the most important things can’t be learned at school.”
4.“Sometimes, however, this sense of isolation, like acid spilling out of a bottle, can unconsciously eat away at a person’s heart and dissolve it. You could see it,too, as a kind of double-edged sword. It protects me, but at the same time steadily cuts away at me from the inside. I think in my own way I’m aware of this danger – probably through experience – and that’s why I’ve had to constantly keep my body in motion, in some cases pushing myself to the limit, in order to heal the loneliness I feel inside and to put it in perspective. Not as much as an intentional act, but as an instinctive reaction.”
5.“A sense of disappointment set in that all my hard work wasn’t paying off, that there was something obstructing me, like a door that was usually open suddenly slammed in my face.”
6.“Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.”
7.“I think Ernest Hemingway did something like that. To keep on going, you have to keep up the rhythm. This is the important thing for long-term projects. Once you set the pace, the rest will follow. The problem is getting the flywheel to spin at a set speed — and to get to that point takes as much concentration and effort as you can manage.”
8.“Nothing in the real world is as beautiful as the illusions of a person about to lose consciousness.”
9.“Whether it’s good for anything or not, cool or totally uncool, in the final analysis what’s most important is what you can’t see but can feel in your heart. To be able to grasp something of value, sometimes you have to perform seemingly inefficient acts. But even activities that are fruitless don’t end up so.”
10.“I had to give it everything I had. If I failed, I could accept that. But I knew that if I did things halfheartedly and they didn’t work out, I’d always have regrets.”