Wednesday, January 14, 2009

2009 Book Review #1: What I Talk About When I Talk About Running

You can get a really indepth review of the book here.

I do not read reviews before I read books.
I only read the front flap and maybe something about the author in the back.
I will also open up some random page in the middle and see if it engages me.

With this book, I did none of that.
Joseph picked it up one day and read it through in about two days.
I tend to read things when I am doing OTHER things so I tend to take much longer.
This book took me a little over a week and a half.
Considering I only read most books about 3/4 of the way through before I forget about it, that's pretty good.

Being a runner, the title did not intrigue me at all. I don't usually talk about running too much and if I do, there is no special philosophical meaning to it. I found that the book was not particularly engaging for me. In fact, I was rather bored until just before halfway through when the writer talks about his thoughts in the later stages of running a marathon from Athens to Marathon in Greece. Just to write an article about the experience. In one small paragraph he talks about how his thoughts go from pleasant to hesitation to irritation and finally to anger. At the cows and the trees... In fact, I really laughed out loud very loudly and read that small part of the paragraph about three times. Just to amuse myself. And because I could relate to that experience. Of course, I do not change over 20 miles. Usually, I have gotten to irritation and anger in thhe first half marathon.

And then later on, he talks about running over the Boston University Bridge when running the Boston Marathon. Uh... There is no Boston University Bridge on the Boston Marathon course. The only BU Bridge I know about crosses over the Charles River from Boston to Cambridge, and is nowhere near the Boston Marathon course. I thought I was going nuts, so I actually asked Joseph about it. We agreed that he was probably talking about the Mass Pike Overpass at 40K right before you get to Kenmore. It's sort of on or about BU property, although on Marathon day it is usually filled with the kids from Dana Farber cheering on their Charity Runners, not BU students. Anyway...

I found the book to be meandering, and of no real point. I guess that could be a metaphor for running. No real point. And the writer's life was sort of meandering until he decided one day to be a writer. And it will continue to be until he decides he wants to be something else. And he writes about Japan. Whatever. Who cares? I don't. Most people know that I have no love lost for the Japanese people or Japan. But I digress...

If this is a good example of the writer's genre and method, I do not think I will read any of his other books.

If anyone wants to read it, don't bother buying it. We have a practically brand new copy that we would be glad to give you.

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