Friday, July 27, 2012

Still July

For quite some time now, I've been interested in reading novels by this Japanese writer named Haruki Murakami. He seems to put out books on a regular basis, has been around for awhile, and has started getting buzz in this country. And look! He's written a memoir about training for the New York City Marathon--except it's not just about training for the New York City Marathon. So, before getting around to reading any of his novels, I've met Haruki Murakami.

Mr. Murakami is a surprisingly self-deprecating man, who does not think himself especially bright or charming. He describes himself as a loner, someone whose personality isn't very appealing. Though he acknowledges that it does take talent to write, he makes it clear that he is not so very talented that it isn't very hard work for him. Likewise, he has a natural inclination to run, but he's not so talented that he doesn't have to train very carefully and diligently. Haruki Murakami is consistent in both those areas of his life, competing in a marathon every year. He also does triathlons.

Maybe the most unexpected fact about Murakami is that he started out in business, the owner of a jazz bar. Not only does that not seem like the kind of job such a quiet, pensive man would ever have had, but the gamble he made trading that steady income to the less certain future of a writer is incredibly unexpected.

This is a very engaging memoir that shows him in a more charming light than he sees himself. Incidentally, he's also a translator, and happens to be the one who translated John Irving's novel, Setting Free the Bears,  into Japanese. Murakami has interviewed many people, and interviewed Irving in Central Park, as they ran together. He also got to interview Toshihiko Seko, the famous Japanese marathon runner of the 1980s.

The title of this memoir was inspired by What I Talk About When I Talk About Love, a short story collection by Raymond Carver. Perhaps I should put that on my list...anyway, I enjoyed this very much!

Ten Things You Should Know About Haruki Murakami--fascinating.

And here we are, last weekend in July! Goodness gracious, summer will be over before we know it. Oh, yeah, and then we get to go to Mexico. Someday I reckon, if we live long enough, we'll see more tramp stamps in places we haunt.  Just a thought.

Happy weekend!  Whatchaupto?


TLP said...

Eye bleach! I need to unsee this tat!

I'm up to nothin'.

You write the best book reviews. You really do.

actonbell said...

Thanks, Mom:-)

tsduff said...

Well, blow me down... here you still are. I've been M.I.A. for a long time... surprised to see my blog is still working. it was fun to drop in and see your uh, amazing youth/aged portrayal. Pretty funny. Makes me grateful I never got a tat.

TLP said...

@Terry: Like

Nessa said...

I'm going to add him to my list of authors to read. He sounds very interesting.

That picture needs to be sent to anyone thinking of getting a tramp stamp.

Karen said...

If I were her age, I'd be grateful I could still wear a string bikini. In fact, I'd be grateful if I could wear one today.

Bone said...

Ugh. You can't unsee that.

actonbell said...

Hey, great to see everyone:) And I work with several young women who have more than tramp stamps--they are really inked up.

actonbell said...

Terry--I'm glad tats weren't the rage when I was young, too.

Nessa, I definitely plan on reading his novels

Karen, you have a point-

Sorry, Bone!