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À mon chevet: 'What I Talk about When I Talk about Running'

À mon chevet is a series of posts featuring a quote from whatever book is on my nightstand at the moment.

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My time at Harvard was over at the end of June, which meant the end of my stay in Cambridge. (Farewell, Sam Adams draft beer! Good-bye, Dunkin' Donuts!) I gathered all my luggage together and returned to Japan at the beginning of July. What were the main things I did while in Cambridge? Basically, I confess, I bought a ton of LPs. In the Boston area there are still a lot of high-quality used record stores. When I had the time I also checked out record stores in New York and Maine. Seventy percent of the records I bought were jazz, the rest classical, plus a few rock records. I'm a very (or perhaps I should say extremely) enthusiastic record collector. Shipping all these records back to Japan was no mean feat.

I'm not really sure how many records I have in my home right now. I've never counted them, and it's too scary to try. Ever since I was fifteen I've bought a huge number of records, and gotten rid of a huge number. The turnover is so fast I can't keep track of the total. They come, they go. But the total number of records is most definitely increasing. The number, though, is not the issue. If somebody asks me how many records I have, all I can say is, "Seems like I have a whole lot. But still not enough."

In Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, one of the characters, Tom Buchanan, a rich man who's also a well-known polo player, says, "I've heard of making a garage out of a stable, but I'm the first man who ever made a stable out of a garage." Not to brag, but I'm doing the same thing. Whenever I find a quality LP recording of a piece I have on CD, I don't hesitate to sell the CD and buy the LP. And when I find a better-quality recording, something closer to the original, I don't hesitate to trade in the old LP for a new one. It takes a lot of time to pursue this, not to mention a considerable investment of cash. Most people would, I am pretty sure, label me obsessed.

-- Haruki Murakami, What I Talk about When I Talk about Running (translation by Philip Gabriel)
The problem with people giving you books for Christmas is that you want to read them, and so my diversion from my Balzac reading project continued. This memoir by the author of Kafka on the Shore and The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is a slender read and, I would have to say, not a great book, but I was happy to get a glimpse of the life behind the written works: Murakami's first career running a jazz club, how he organizes his daily life (especially around training for marathons and triathlons), and his music listening habits.

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