Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Writing, Running

behind the hatred there lies a murderous desire for love

Sort of a tangential follow-up on my last post

An author by the name of David Yoo and I have been exchanging emails regarding books on writing. David wrote Stop Me if You've Heard This One Before which is easily one of the finest novels, YA or otherwise, that I read last year and so you should buy and read it at your earliest convenience. I find that the recommendation from someone I respect is the third most trustworthy reason to pick up a particular book, right behind blind luck and my own awesome powers of psychometry. I read pretty much every book on writing that comes out, hoping to learn arcane secrets. While I'm not smart enough to figure out most of the arcane secrets, I do enjoy reading other writers' writing about writing (and then writing about other writers writing about writing) because then I feel marginally less insane. Marginally. Anyhow, in the exchange David mentioned Haruki Murakami's What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, which I read today. It is mostly about running but also about writing.

I greatly enjoyed the book. Like me, Mr. Murakami started running when he was in his thirties. Unlike me, he started writing in his thirties, but I refuse to hate him, even though the first novel he wrote ended up winning some contest and went on to published while I toiled away for years, spending eight thousand dollars on printer ribbon without so much as a classified ad being published. I have expunged "bitter" from my emotional palate.

Also unlike me, Mr. Murakami has run many marathons, including a 62 mile ultramarathon! I start to hyperventilate and my calves curl up like Styrofoam in a microwave just thinking about it. He still runs a marathon or two a year, and he's at least a decade older than me. I especially enjoyed passages where he wrote about how he thought running had helped him as a writer. Good books inspire me to go write, and this one inspired me to write and go running. Writing process junkies and runners alike would likely enjoy the book.

And speaking of enjoying books, if you enjoyed Generation Dead, here are some reasons why you would also enjoy Stop Me If You've Heard This One Before:

*Both our books feature Korean characters with the last name of Kim

*Both our books have a character named Gino--how many Gino's do you know in your real life?

*Both our books make oh-so clever use of an "STD" acronym

* Both books feature a scene where a boy asks a girl to lie down and "trust them"--and the girls actually do!!!!

* Both of our books have an attractive shade of blue on the cover.

* Judging from the back jacket photos, we could easily pass as brothers! (Actually, this last comment is untrue. There is no author photo on the back of Generation Dead, and with good reason. But if I looked like David Yoo, there would be! He's fine!)

Check it out. And if you like writing, or running, or writing and running, or writing on writing and running, check out Murakami's memoir as well.

5 comments:

Delaney the Undead said...

Im actually excited! i ran allthroughout high school and now Ive recently in the past few months taken it up again in preparation for boot camp.

Thanks for the recommend, i will definetely check it out.

I may not run fast...but I run for a long time,
-Dee

Maddie said...

I'll definitely have to look that book up.

Have you seen the movie Run Fat Boy Run? It is a hilarious movie about running. If you haven't seen it yet, I would recommend it as good comedy and a movie about not giving up.

-Maddie

Daniel Waters said...

Hi Delaney!

Good for you. I can neither run fast nor for a long time. And I don't look good when I run. But I sometimes see woodland critters so it isn't a total loss.

Take care,
Dan

Daniel Waters said...

Hi Maddie!

I have not seen that movie (my bio-pic, maybe?) but I'll see if it is on netflix.

Not giving up is the key to life, btw.

Take care,
Dan

Michael Williams said...

I love book recommendations!