Jonathan Livingston Seagull
by Richard Bach

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Introduction:

"Most gulls don't bother to learn more than the simplest facts of flight --how to get from shore to food and back again," writes author Richard Bach in this allegory about a unique bird named Jonathan Livingston Seagull. "For most gulls it is not flying that matters, but eating. For this gull, though, it was not eating that mattered, but flight." Flight is indeed the metaphor that makes the story soar. Ultimately this is a fable about the importance of seeking a higher purpose in life, even if your flock, tribe, or neighborhood finds your ambition threatening. (At one point our beloved gull is even banished from his flock.) By not compromising his higher vision, Jonathan gets the ultimate payoff: transcendence. Ultimately, he learns the meaning of love and kindness. The dreamy seagull photographs by Russell Munson provide just the right illustrations--although the overall packaging does seem a bit dated (keep in mind that it was first published in 1970). Nonetheless, this is a spirituality classic, and an especially engaging parable for adolescents. -- Gail Hudson


Reviews:

"Richard Bach with this book does two things. He gives me Flight. He makes me feel young. For both I am deeply grateful" -- Ray Bradbury

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This book was such a blessing, when I discovered it. I originally picked it up, because I love the ocean and all marine life, especially seagulls. They always seem so free and beautiful, to me.

Jonathan Livingston Seagull is a book about a very independent bird, who dared to question what was being taught and told to him by the elders. He didn't just want to spend his days searching for food and hanging out doing what was expected of him - he was different, and dared to dream.
He spent his days learning to fly faster and better than any other gull in the flock. He learned from all of his searching and trying that he could do anything, if he wanted it badly enough and just went for it, even to the point of becoming an outcast.
At one point in time, in so learning and perfecting his craft, he crash landed and died, going onto a higher lever of his awareness, to learn more lessons from his guide, Fletcher. He continues through the story, becoming more and more proficient in his endeavors and in turn becomes a teacher/guide to others, becoming a kind and loving soul along the way.

I was so overjoyed in this book, because it has made me realize that it is okay to be different and NOT do what everyone else does, just because you are supposed to. You are supposed to be who you are, it is your choice to make and what is right for you, is okay. A very wonderful book, which I have read at least 25 times since I first found it. -- Bonnie Pike

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If there is anything that this book teaches, it is that we have the ability to change reality with the power of our own thoughts. This is one of those books that no matter how many times I read it, will never fail to amaze me. It's the kind of book that leaves you speechless, unable to do anything but think, and wonder.
Presented in the form of a charming parable about a seagull's education in flight, Jonathan Livingston Seagull is about far more than the life of one seagull. It is about each and every one of us, struggling to find the answers, to reach something higher that we are not even yet aware of. We are all a little bit like Jonathan, and when we read Bach's story, we realize that we all have the same power inside. That we can do anything, be anything that we want, if only we can believe in ourselves. Bach's message is a powerful and timeless one that stretches across all barriers to reveal the simple truth that we all, at one time or another in our lives, knew: the most powerful force that exists is that of belief, especially in ourselves.

I can't tell you exactly why you need to read this book. It's not about something as simple as plot or writing style. There is a rare magic in the words that cannot be conveyed by any other means than the experience of reading the book. All I can say is that once you read this book, you will understand. -- Evelyn Chen

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