What I Talk About When I Talk About Running
written by Haruki Murakami
Vintage International (2008)
Source: Purchased book
Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.
Last August, my doctor challenged me to exercise more. I went back to running which I have had a love/hate relationship with for about 30 years. Except for a brief injury related time, I've kept running 5-6 days a week since last August. It has been rewarding (lost about 20 lbs and feel better physically and mentally), but not without its challenges. It has taken some gumption on my part (running in snowstorms, running at 5:00 AM to avoid the heat) to keep going. Haruki Murakami's What I Talk About When I Talk About Running perfectly captures the highs and lows of a recreational runner. My favorite parts of this book are when the author tells about two different races he undertook: running 26 miles from Athens to Marathon and running a 62 mile ultra-marathon in his native Japan. I have no desire to run either of these distances, but it was fascinating to read Murakami's account of his exploits. He is honest and self-deprecating and hits the nail on the head as he talks about finishing races. When he argues that most runners don't run to live longer, but to live life to its fullest, I have to agree. This book is not so much inspirational as it is insightful and affirming. If you are a runner, you will enjoy reading this book.
So how does this book relate to working with children? Fountas and Pinnell, in their first twenty days of school piece, talk about how to teach children to pick a book for independent reading. How I decided to choose What I Talk About When I Talk About Running will be a good way for me to model how to choose books. I found a book on a topic that I found interesting and had some background knowledge about. I can also talk about how the author's writing style kept me interested and reading. Students need to know that their teachers are curious readers and go through the same steps as they do when choosing books.
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