In 1982, having sold his jazz bar to devote himself to writing, Haruki Murakami began running to keep fit. A year later, he’d completed a solo course from Athens to Marathon, and now, after dozens of such races, not to mention triathlons and a slew of critically acclaimed books, he reflects upon the influence the sport has had on his life and on his writing.
Equal parts travelogue, training log, and reminiscence, this revealing memoir covers his four-month preparation for the 2005 New York City Marathon and settings ranging from Tokyo’s Jingu Gaien gardens, where he once shared the course with an Olympian, to the Charles River in Boston among young women who outpace him. Through this marvelous lens of sport emerges a cornucopia of memories and insights: the eureka moment when he decided to become a writer, his greatest triumphs and disappointments, his passion for vintage LPs, and the experience, after fifty, of seeing his race times improve and then fall back.
By turns funny and sobering, playful and philosophical, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running is rich and revealing, both for fans of this masterful yet private writer and for the exploding population of athletes who find similar satisfaction in distance running.
What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, by Haruki Murakami
Translated by Philip Gabriel
HARVILL SECKER • BIOGRAPHY • 112 PAGES • PUBLICATION DATE: MAY 2008
The Several Lives of Joseph Conrad is the first new biography in more than a decade of one of modern literature’s most important writers--whose work remains widely read and acutely relevant eighty years after his death. In this authoritative, insightful book, we see Joseph Conrad as a man who consistently reinvented himself. Born in 1857 in Berdichev, Ukraine, he left home early and worked as a sailor out of Marseilles; traveled to the Far East and Africa with the British merchant navy; and, finally, in 1891, settled in England, beginning a precarious existence as an novelist and family man. Here is a Conrad for our moment: a man with a deep sense of otherness; a writer with multiple cultural identities who wrote in his third language and whose fiction became the cornerstone of literary Modernism.
With his exceptional knowledge and understanding of Conrad, and drawing on unpublished letters and documents, John Stape succeeds in casting an illuminating new light on the life of a willfully enigmatic man who remains one of the greatest writers of his, and our, time.
John Stape has brought Joseph Conrad so much to life – a working writer, a man subject to pain and vicissitude, not a 'study,' not a statue – that inevitably one suffers with him. Jessie Conrad, too, is alive in these pages, and their son Borys so much so that Stape can't help wanting to give him a good thrashing. Especially striking in the scope of this superb biography is its organic human trajectory, the evolution of Conrad from where he began to what he became. The undistinguished young Conrad could really be anyone at all; the old Conrad is Conrad, and not because the image is so familiar--those omniscient creases fanning out of all-seeing eyes that have known dread. One finishes reading in something like a state of personal mourning: a life that is as sad as it is triumphant.The Several Lives of Joseph Conrad, by John Stape
Cynthia Ozick, author of Heir to the Glimmering
PANTHEON BOOKS • BIOGRAPHY • HARDCOVER • MARCH 2008
In this timely, highly original, and controversial narrative, New York Times bestselling author Mark Kurlansky discusses nonviolence as a distinct entity, a course of action, rather than a mere state of mind. Nonviolence can and should be a technique for overcoming social injustice and ending wars, he asserts, which is why it is the preferred method of those who speak truth to power.
Nonviolence is a sweeping yet concise history that moves from ancient Hindu times to present-day conflicts raging in the Middle East and elsewhere. Kurlansky also brings into focus just why nonviolence is a “dangerous” idea, and asks such provocative questions as: Is there such a thing as a “just war”? Could nonviolence have worked against even the most evil regimes in history?
Kurlansky draws from history twenty-five provocative lessons on the subject that we can use to effect change today. He shows how, time and again, violence is used to suppress nonviolence and its practitioners–Gandhi and Martin Luther King, for example; that the stated deterrence value of standing national armies and huge weapons arsenals is, at best, negligible; and, encouragingly, that much of the hard work necessary to begin a movement to end war is already complete. It simply needs to be embraced and accelerated.
Nonviolence: The History of a Dangerous Idea
Written by Mark Kurlansky • Foreword by Dalai Lama
MODERN LIBRARY • HISTORY • PAPERBACK • APRIL 2008