James Herriot’s Books

so many great books

Have you ever read a book that you thoroughly enjoyed every single word written?  What about two books? Three? Or four?  For me, these books were a combined 1750 pages of pure joy.  There were moments that I laughed out loud, a few times I had tears in my eyes, and the entire time I had a smile on my face. If you’ve read these books, you know what I mean.

All Creatures Great and Small All Things Bright and Beautiful
All Things Wise and Wonderful The Lord God Made Them All

James Herriot was a Scottish country veterinarian who spent his entire career working in the Yorkshire Dales of England, beginning in the 1930s.  He brings to us his experiences with the farmers and village folk, the farm animals and domestic cats and dogs he treated, the other vets he worked with, his partner and his brother, and his wife. Each person and each animal has a personality that is vividly brought to life through his heartwarming stories told only in a way that he can.  We also learn quite a bit about the countryside, their way of life, and veterinary work.  Written in his true English dialect and style, the reader is completely immersed in James’ world as he interacts with the people he works and socializes with ~ whether in a field or a barn, or joining them in their pub or home for a drink or a cup of tea.  He was often called out to work in the middle of the night, so even though his life seemed a little romantic we are reminded of the hard life a country vet really has.  And though his work was hard, he was always gentle and patient, friendly and kind.

By looking at the covers of these books a person might think they look like they would be for animal lovers only, but they are not. Anyone that loves great heartwarming stories will love them.

Here are some of the rave reviews given to these books:

“Warm…Graphic…Gripping…Touching…Hilarious…A Treat” ~ Publishers Weekly
“What the world needs now…is a warm, G-rated, down-home prize of a book…James Herriot’s memoirs qualify admirably!” ~ Time
“This veterinarian is the most entertaining, most thoroughly likeable, most engaging person to have come along in a long time, and the stories he has to tell are fascinating.” ~ San Francisco Examiner
“…Veterinarian James Herriot has a way, not only with animals, but with words.  And in telling us how he feels, he enables us to feel with him.” ~ Detroit Free Press
“Perhaps once in a decade a book like this comes along.  It’s a simple tale…told with such pathos, humor, and warmth.  It’s a beautiful book.” ~ George Hecht, President, Doubleday Book Shops
“…Many more famous authors could work for a lifetime and not achieve more flawless literary control than this unknown vet has in his first book…But if living well is even more difficult than writing well, his character and temperament are more miraculous than his style…The whole book, in both its funniest and most tragic episodes, expresses a joyous and affectionate acceptance of life, animal and human!” ~ Chicago Tribune Book World
“James Herriot’s books are a thing it would be hard to get too much of.” ~ Business Week

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all.
Cecil Frances Alexander 1818-1895

On my reading list for this summer are three other books written by James Herriot: Dog Stories, Every Living Thing, and James Herriot’s Yorkshire.

What about you?  Have you read any of James Herriot’s books?  If you have, did you love them?  If you haven’t read them, are you going to?

More book reviews…
In the Presence of My Enemies
Gift from the Sea
The Trapp Family Singers
Mao’s Last Dancer
Carry On, Mr. Bowditch
I Am Potential
Left To Tell
The Happiness Project


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13 Responses to James Herriot’s Books

  1. Karen W May 1, 2013 at 9:20 am #

    I first started reading them in 1978. Love them all and have reread them all. It’s still what I go to read when I can’t sleep. They are like comfort food for my eyes. I am glad you enjoyed them too. Did you know that BBC had made a TV series out of them?

    • Lori May 1, 2013 at 11:27 am #

      Hi Karen ~ I have watched them and enjoyed them, although not as well as the books. Maybe I should give them another try. Comfort food for your eyes ~ I like that.

  2. Lengel May 1, 2013 at 12:20 pm #

    Makes me want to listen to Christopher Timothy read them to me again.

    • Lori May 1, 2013 at 1:53 pm #

      Hi Lengel ~ I’m going to give these a try on our next road trip. Thank you for telling me about them.

  3. Krista Low May 6, 2013 at 12:25 pm #

    I read All Creatures Great and Small a long time ago, but I haven’t read the others. I should read it again now as an adult, I don’t really remember much about it other than I wanted to become a veteranarian after I read it 🙂 Krista @ A Handful of Everything

    • Lori May 6, 2013 at 7:51 pm #

      🙂 Read all of them. You’ll want to become a vet all over again.

  4. Printabelle May 6, 2013 at 9:55 pm #

    We love this author, too! I actually found a copy of one of his books signed at my local thrift store!!

    • Lori May 7, 2013 at 1:05 am #

      Oh man. Lucky you. That is a real treasure.

  5. Charlene@A Pinch of Joy May 12, 2013 at 10:31 am #

    Love these books — have read every one of them and enjoyed them thoroughly! Thanks so much for sharing on Busy Monday!

    • Lori May 13, 2013 at 10:34 am #

      Oh my gosh. They are so enjoyable, aren’t they?

  6. Small Talk Mama May 13, 2013 at 7:32 am #

    Lori, I’ve been trying to decide what to read this summer and I think you have just inspired me. I’ve never read these books but have always thought they would be good. All Creatures Great and Small here I come.

    • Lori May 14, 2013 at 3:07 am #

      Oh, good. I so hope you read them. Then please check back in with me and let me know your thoughts.


  1. Gift from the Sea | A Bright and Beautiful LifeA Bright and Beautiful Life - October 17, 2013

    […] book reviews… Mao’s Last Dancer Carry On, Mr. Bowditch I Am Potential James Herriot’s books: All Creatures Great and Small, All Things Bright and Beautiful, All Thi…Left To Tell The Happiness […]

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