Haruki Murakami can be daunting at times. I've only read a few of his works; some I don't understand (e.g. The Elephant Vanishes, an anthology which I didn't finish) while some I don't really like (Norwegian Wood). But this book I love, because it's understandable (unlike most of his novels, that deal with the surreal) and likeable. In this memoir Murakami does not only discuss his lifelong passion for distance running, but also its relationship with his vocation as a writer and his life as a whole. He gained my greatest respect when he described himself as someone with modest talent, both in writing and running, but who always strives to do his best. He shares about dealing with his shortcomings and growing old, and in the face of all the obstacles he just keeps on going--or running, to be exact. Thanks to this book I have renewed my interest in his works, and it somehow even made me want to put on my shoes and start running. Me, someone who was always among the last to finish during runs at school.
Coincidentally, the Japanese boyband member that I like has also written about running in his monthly magazine essay late last year. The translation of that essay can be found here