Jonathan Livingston Seagull
Jonathan Livingston Seagull, written by Richard Bach, is a fable in novella form about a seagull learning about life and flight, and a homily about self-perfection. It was first published in 1970 as “Jonathan Livingston Seagull — a story.” By the end of 1972, over a million copies were in print, Reader’s Digest had published a condensed version, and the book had reached the top of the New York Times Best Seller list, where it remained for 38 weeks. In 1972 and 1973, the book topped the Publishers Weekly list of bestselling novels in the United States.
From the book’s official website:
This book is a song for spirits who have lived so long and so quietly by themselves. Jonathan Seagull is a story for one who knows that somewhere there’s a higher way of living than scuffing the tracks of others, someone who yearns to fly the way their own heart yearns to fly.
It’s a reminder, this little fable, that the path for us to follow is already written within, that it’s for each of us to find our own loves, and live them brightly for ourselves. Others may watch, they may admire our resolution or despise it, but our one freedom is for us to love and to choose every day of our lives, as we wish.
A couple excerpts from the website’s contributed “Seagull Stories”:
“During my life, I have read Jonathon Livingston Seagull probably fifteen times. I have given it to many a graduate and to all my kids. Every time I read it, Jonathon and I grow closer. I thank you for using your gift of flight and offering this great book to the world. If it never opens another eye, it opened mine and I am eternally grateful for getting to know Jonathon. He is my brother.”
“Subject to the frailties of this human shell, I realize I have much to learn yet and I carry Jonathon with me everywhere I go. He is literally never more than a hundred feet away from me. Anytime I’m near a used bookstore, I clean out any copies of his tales I can to give away so others can meet Jonathon, too. He’s helped me offer soothing words to the survivors of those not with us anymore and lifted others to see that their unremarkable state is stunningly more than enough and therefore remarkable beyond measure.”