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Murakami

What I talk about when I talk about running by Murakami. Recommended by Robert

image-mediumI found this book very inspiring and charming. When I started reading it, I found it hard to stop and read it from cover to cover in a single day.It is very thought provoking, it makes you think about yourself and your goals.It’s about achievement as well as doing something to live life to the fullest.Having just trained for a reasonably long run for 4 months, and run “only” 3 to 4 times a week, I enjoyed finding that Murakami describes so well the thoughts of a runner – he sums up brilliantly how you overcome the fatigue and pain when running by stating: “pain is inevitable, suffering is not”. Once you realise that, he explains it is a matter of how you manage your expectations when focussing on any task that requires stamina, dedication and a bit of pain, be it running, writing or anything else in life.Although he admits to something of a prickly nature, Murakami’s tone throughout is self-effacing, even self-critical at times. He’s a realist about the ravages of age: “Even when I grow old and feeble, when people warn me it’s about time to throw in the towel, I won’t care. As long as my body allows, I’ll keep on running.” And while he hopes to pursue his passions for many years, he has already decided he wants to be buried under a tombstone that reads, in part, “At Least He Never Walked.” I hope I can say that when I hang up my running shoes.

Robert

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Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami ; recommended by Simon

41NNpr8x7ILThe story is  mainly about Toru and Naoko and their doomed relationship. Toru is a fairly anonymous middle class student in 1960s Japan who falls for the troubled Naoko. When she goes into a refuge Toru has to get on with his life and forms an attachment to the fun-loving Midori. However, he is still in love with Naoko and this complicates things and doesn’t help his troubled mind. The story is funny yet sad, a love story and yet not. It is beautifully written and well translated. It was not without its faults though. The 1960s background did not come over all that well and the book was somewhat depressing with suicide being a constant feature. Although Toru was a sympathetic character on the whole, he did come over as selfish at times and this did not always gel well with the rest of the story. The other characters were all interesting and there were some very touching and surprising moments, such as when Toru spent some time with Midori’s dying father. But it is a book worth reading

— Simon

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