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A Murakami Missive February 3, 2009

Posted by Brian L. Belen in Books.

Last month, the wife-to-be gave me a copy of Haruki Murakami’s memoir, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, for my birthday. It’s a book I thoroughly enjoyed, and I do sincerely hope to get around to writing about it. In case I don’t, allow me to share the following quotable quote from within its pages that happened to grab my attention:

Sixteen is an intensely troublesome age. You worry about little things, can’t pinpoint where you are in any objective way, become really proficient at strange, pointless skills, and are held in thrall by inexplicable complexes. As you get older, though, through trial and error you learn to get what you need, and throw out what should be discarded. And you start to recognize (or be resigned to the fact) that since your faults and deficiencies are well nigh infinite, you’d best figure out your good points and learn to get by with what you have.

It’s because of gems like these that I enjoy reading Murakami. The guy just gets it, and has the knack for framing even the most innocuous subject in such an elegant way. That observation of what it’s like to be sixteen is right on the money. I particularly love the observation about being “proficient at strange, pointless skills.” I know I had my fair share at that age. Still do.



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