Have you ever played the game where you list the people you would invite to a dinner party if you could have any guest? Haruki Murakami would be on my short list.
I first became familiar with Murakami when I listened to the audiobook of IQ84. If you ever have time to read (or listen to) this book, you will not regret it. There is some adult content, so be wary if you are listening with kids in the car, and be prepared that you WILL find the story to be strange and uncomfortable. But just accept the strangeness and you will be rewarded.
Now that I have given you my 1Q84 endorsement, I want to talk about my latest Murakami read, What I Talk about When I Talk about Running. I got this as a book to read between others, but I found it oddly inspiring. It basically makes the case that running and writing require similar and complimentary discipline. In fact, Murakami doesn’t say this, but I think you could infer that he feels that his physical regimen is integral to his success as a writer. If you are not a writer, I don’t think Murakami would object to applying his holistic philosophy to any other endeavor a person is really serious about.
As a writer who has been a semi-regular runner through many periods of my life, the book was especially interesting. I was also fascinated by Murakami’s account how the events in his life led him to writing. I admire him for doing choosing a profession that he loved (jazz club owner/operator), working hard to make it a success, finding a partner that shared his vision and supported him, and then taking a risk to switch careers and produce art that is significant.
The memoir also makes me want to experience more of Murakami’s work, and I may try a new project where I resume a daily running habit while listening to Murakami’s other novels. More on this later….