This spring break I’ve been trying to pick up a book and not my phone. Mindlessly reaching for my phone and getting lost in endless scrolling on TikTok is all too tempting and something I’m guilty of. So, I’ve been prioritizing reading as a more fulfilling pastime. I enjoyed reading before bed, nestled underneath my cozy covers with a flickering candle in the background.

Here’s a review of some of the books I read during spring break and my thoughts on them. Hopefully, my reflections will encourage you to pick up a book as well.

  1. “Jonathan Livingston Seagull” by Richard Bach

“Jonathan Livingston Seagull” is an illustrated novella. The story follows the journey of a young seagull named Jonathan who rejects the ordinary life of his flock to pursue his passion for flying. Despite facing rejection and isolation, he dedicates himself to mastering flight and discovers truths about life, freedom, friendship and self-discovery. 

Approaching this book with no preconceptions, I was pleasantly surprised by its depth and the poignant truths it explores. While it may initially appear to revolve around a seagull, the novella delves into profound allegories and symbolism that resonate deeply. Despite its brevity, the story is rich in meaning. One of the passages that particularly resonated with me was: “And then another hundred lives until we began to learn that there is such a thing as perfection, and another hundred again to get the idea that our purpose for living is to find that perfection and show it forth.” There is nothing better than learning about life through seagulls. 

  1. “And the Mountains Echoed” by Khaled Hosseini

“And the Mountains Echoed” marks Khaled Hosseini’s third novel, opening in 1952 Afghanistan with the story of siblings Abdullah and Pari. However, the narrative stretches over time and location, spanning generations and continents, from Kabul to Paris, San Francisco and the Greek island of Tinos.

The best part is Hosseini’s writing, which is captivating with vivid descriptions. The highlight for me was the beautiful prose that wove emotional depth and softness to the characters. However, I found myself less engaged with the plot due to its extensive coverage of multiple characters, some of whom felt unnecessary and minor. The frequent shifts between characters, perspectives, and narrative styles made it more challenging to follow. It took me an unusually long three weeks to finish this book, a consequence of struggling to maintain interest in the changing narratives without seeing any deeper connections. I longed for more continuity and cohesion between characters and storylines, particularly desiring a stronger focus on Pari and Abdullah’s stories, which I found most compelling. Overall, I wished for a more focused narrative with stronger connections between the characters’ journeys. 

  1. “These Precious Days” by Anne Patchett 

“These Precious Days” is a captivating collection of memoir essays by Ann Patchett. From reminiscing about her love for Kate DiCamillo’s books to sharing anecdotes about her friendships, Patchett delves into her life experiences, exploring themes of writing, family, passion, and the ever-changing complexities of existence. Her personal narratives feel authentic and relatable. Despite the straightforward language, Patchett’s essays are filled with insightful reflections and wisdom, making them easy to digest but engaging nonetheless. Patchett’s memoir leaves you feeling as if you’ve made a new friend. 

Among the essays in Patchett’s collection, “Three Fathers” stands out as a heartwarming exploration of the impact her three fathers had on her as a writer, offering unique perspectives shaped by her mother’s three marriages. Each father contributed distinctively to her development: her father instilled strength, Mike offered adoration and Darrell provided acceptance. 

Additionally, “My Year of No Shopping” captivated me with its poignant analogies: “The things we buy and buy and buy are like a thick coat of Vaseline smeared on glass: We can see some shapes out there, light and dark, but in our constant craving for what we may still want, we miss life’s details.” 

Throughout Patchett’s essays, the recurring theme of perseverance in her writing journey inspires writers to pursue their passions. One of my favorite quotes was: “Having someone who believed in my failure more than my success kept me alert. It made me fierce. Without ever meaning to, my father taught me at a very early age to give up on the idea of approval. I wish I could bottle that freedom now and give it to every young writer I meet, with an extra bottle for the women. I would give them the ability both to love and not to care.”