If you would like to experience the wind blowing through the heather on a high Yorkshire moor and hear the delightful and poignant tales of a country veterinarian and animals, large and small and good folk, close to the earth, then this is a book for you.
This book needs to be re edited. The story ends nicely with him coming home from the Air Force but then there are more chapters following with him still in the air force. The animal tales are good as expected. Audible should really fix this glaring error.
My father lived this life and I was Lucky enough to spend my Early days riding along with him and see these stories in real life.
Boy do these stories bring back memories.
I have two rescue dogs. One Scottish born husband. And a love of books that goes back to childhood and bookmobiles!
I loved all three media! James is a wonderful vet who has learned now to take himself too seriously so he could tell all the tales to the listener. What great stories they are about a grand variety of people and animals!
Christopher Timothy is the perfect narrator! His voice is warm and inviting.
If you're in need of a break from murder or dragons and just want a relaxing listen, do give this or any in the series a listen.
Oh, sounds boring? Not so! What about a wee cat who's inners ore outer the purrs so loudly the two vets have to try? What about a young man so desperate to see his pregnant wife he is willing to go AWOL. Or an extremely valuable stallion who suddenly starts choking to death?
While a gentle story there is tension, humor, sadness...it's just a darn good story!
I have one left of this series and I'm so sad about that. I wish I could read James herriot's Books for the rest of my life. they are so entertaining, heartwarming, fun, exciting, and hysterical! I just can't get enough!
James, among others. His stories are interesting, some being hilarious.
The funny scene of Tristan attempting, attempting being the key word, to book, and not doing a very good job at roasting potatoes.
A must-have for any fans of books by this man.
I love reading and listening to books, especially fantasy, science fiction, children's, historical, and classics.
All Things Wise and Wonderful (1976) is the third of James Herriot's wonderful books combining two shorter ones each, following All Creatures Great and Small (1972) and All Things Bright and Beautiful (1974). Like the others, this one is comprised of numerous short story chapters based on his experiences working as a veterinarian among the fells, moors, dales, and farms of Yorkshire, especially in the fictional community of Darrowby. Like the other books, the stories here range from earthy to philosophical and from comedy to tragedy and depict a wide range of animal and human personalities, idiosyncrasies, and relationships. Like the others, this one mostly takes place from the 1930s on, when animal medicine was modernizing (before antibiotics had been introduced), tractors were beginning to replace draft horses, and dairy farms were becoming industrialized. While the first book tells the overarching story of James starting his career as a vet in Yorkshire and meeting and falling in love with Helen Alderson and the second tells the story of his dating and marrying Helen and realizing that he loves his Yorkshire work and adopted home, this third book tells the story of his training for the World War II RAF and confirming his love of Darrowby and Helen and his vet career by removing him from them. Thus this book, alone of the three, consists of one set of memories (Yorkshire) nested inside another (RAF).
I found the dual memory device uncomfortable and so prefer the first two books, which consist only of Yorkshire stories. Herriot's point is that while in the RAF his memories of home were closer to his heart than his training to be a pilot, which is why at the start of nearly every new chapter something he sees or hears or does in the RAF sends him into a Yorkshire flashback, but many of the memory links feel contrived (as when while waiting to be operated on in the RAF James thinks that he would much rather be on the other end of the knife, which sends him into a Darrowby memory in which he and Tristan are operating on a dog's ear, but this story is really a comedy about Siegfried, Tristan, and James), the RAF experiences only once have anything directly to do with an animal (when James helps deliver the calf of a Shropshire farmer's cow), and the Yorkshire parts are so much more vivid, substantial, moving, and funny that I looked forward to them and regretted leaving them to return to the RAF.
Herriot rarely repeats himself. In addition to depicting a wide variety of human beings (including juvenile delinquents, philosophical farmers, depressed bachelors, laughing spinsters, and weathered old couples) and animals (including dogs, cats, cows, pigs, horses, and a donkey), he writes about many different health problems: false pregnancies, grief, milk fever, fungal growths, foot and mouth, premature blindness, Hodgkin's, prolapsed uteruses, car accidents, and much more. The stories are often suspenseful because Herriot is so good at making us sympathize with the animals and their humans and James cannot always save the lives of his patients or figure out what's wrong with them. As a cat lover, as I was reaching the end I thought, "I wish there were more cat stories to go with the wonderful dog ones," when Herriot recounts the tale of Oscar, the lost cat found starved and disemboweled, one of the most exquisitely sad and happy stories I've ever read by any author.
There is much great writing throughout--
"She was the classical picture of an ancient bovine; as fleshless as her owner, with jutting pelvic bones, splayed, overgrown feet and horns with the multitude of rings along their curving length. Beneath her, the udder, once high and tight, drooped forlornly almost to the floor."
On vet work:
"I stared at it intently, appalled by the smooth glistening articular surfaces of the tibio-tarsal joint. There was something obscene in its exposure in the living animal. It was as though the hock had been broken open by brutal, inquisitive hands."
"Then I bit into the first slice of bread; home made, plastered thickly with farm butter and topped by a lavish layer of heather honey from a long row of hives I had often seen on the edge of the moor above. I closed my eyes in reverence as I chewed."
"Mr. Barge gave me the kind of sorrowing smile a bishop might bestow on an erring curate."
"But as I drove away, the somber beauty of the place overwhelmed me. The lowering hillsides burst magically into life as a shaft of sunshine stabbed through the clouds, flooding the bare flanks with warm gold."
About the audiobook, it is perfectly read by Chistopher Timothy, who played James Herriot in the BBC TV adaptations of the books. In addition to loving the material and reading the stories with conviction and delight, Timothy convincingly voices different genders and ages and classes and accents--cockney, Birmingham, Scottish, standard south of England, and, of course, the appealing Yorkshire: "There's nowt spoilin'. Ah never likes to hurry me grub. . . And how about you, Mr. Herriot? You could do with summat to keep your strength up." He also does fine farmer coughs and sneezes and dog howls and barks.
One trivial issue with the audiobook presented as a digital download is that (I assume) they originally were produced as CDs, with string, wind, and piano music opening and closing each disk, which means that often in the middle of stories pleasing but also somewhat distracting music fades in and out.
Readers who love animals or are interested in Yorkshire or the history of veterinary medicine should really read James Herriot, preferrably beginning with All Creatures Great and Small but not forgetting in time All Things Wise and Wonderful.