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All Things Wise and Wonderful Audiobook

All Things Wise and Wonderful

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Publisher's Summary

In this third enchanting collection of stories, James Herriot, the world's most beloved veterinarian, picks up where All Things Bright and Beautiful left off: World War II has begun, and James has been inducted into the RAF. We see him at training camp and we go back with him to Yorkshire - on real trips as he breaks away to see Helen, who is about to have a baby, and on trips of reverie as he recalls the dales, the animals, and the Yorkshire people who have so enriched his life.

We meet old friends again - his partner Siegfried, the zany Tristan, the bon vivant Granville Bennett - and scores of new folk, each with a story to tell. James Herriot is back and, as one reviewer said of his work, "If ever you have loved a friend, human or otherwise, these stories are for you."

©1977 by James Herriot; (P)1996 by Audio Renaissance Tapes, a Division of CPU, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"...humor, realism, sensitivity, earthiness...gentle compassion and a lively sense of the sad, the ridiculous, and the admirable." (Columbus Dispatch)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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  •  
    dharma090 04-24-16
    dharma090 04-24-16 Member Since 2015
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    "The best books available."

    I love these books and listening to them has made the world even more exciting. The narration is impeccable and I recommend these to anyone and everyone!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    brian 04-24-16
    brian 04-24-16 Member Since 2013
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    "An excellent story."
    Would you listen to All Things Wise and Wonderful again? Why?

    I would.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    James, among others. His stories are interesting, some being hilarious.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The funny scene of Tristan attempting, attempting being the key word, to book, and not doing a very good job at roasting potatoes.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    It was.


    Any additional comments?

    A must-have for any fans of books by this man.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    LJB Amazon Customer 04-07-16 Member Since 2016

    Laura

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    "James Herriot is lovable!"

    I love all that James Herriot (aka Alf wight) has written. I can listen to these books over and over again!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jefferson 03-22-16
    Jefferson 03-22-16 Member Since 2010

    I love reading and listening to books, especially fantasy, science fiction, children's, historical, and classics.

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    "James in the RAF, Homesick and Nostalgic"

    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--

    On animals:
    "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."

    On food:
    "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."

    On people:
    "Mr. Barge gave me the kind of sorrowing smile a bishop might bestow on an erring curate."

    On place:
    "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.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John 03-11-16
    John 03-11-16 Member Since 2011
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    "Editting glitch can be fixed"
    What did you love best about All Things Wise and Wonderful?

    The storytelling combined with Timothy's reading is perfect since he played the author in the TV series based on these books.


    What did you like best about this story?

    How well they hold up after so many years. I first read the series in the 80s because my mom loved the show on PBS and one of the actors went on to play The Doctor on Doctor Who and I had just been introduced to that at the same time.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    My favorite was the ending that mirrored the beginning of the first book.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Laugh and cry, some of the stories hit closer to home than others and provoke both reactions. Others can be one or the other.


    Any additional comments?

    Have those that complained about the editing actually contacted audible about it? This is only the 2nd book I have gotten that had an issue. The previous was Cell by Stephen King and it was eventually fixed. This is just a matter of switching the last 2 CDs when transferring to audio format.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 02-19-16 Member Since 2013
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    "This is Wonderful"

    I followed the PBS series so closely , watching over and over . I think Christopher Timothy "became" James Herriot to me and these books on Audible make me so happy. It is like revisiting old friends.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Donna 08-06-15
    Donna 08-06-15
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    "Excellent"

    Another excellent chapter in this timeless series. Christopher Timothy, as always, a delight to listen to.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ingrid mccord 07-07-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Really good listening"
    Would you listen to All Things Wise and Wonderful again? Why?

    The stories are well written and wonderful to listen to. The narration is great. Just a really good way to relax.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Ignacio, CO USA 02-22-15
    Amazon Customer Ignacio, CO USA 02-22-15 Member Since 2012

    Mystery Lover

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    "I love the Herriot books"

    Christopher Timothy was great in the tv series as james herriot and I absolutely love that he reads the books too. He does a great job and the stories are wonderful.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sharlene 01-22-15
    Sharlene 01-22-15
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    "A treasure!!!"

    These books and the audio performances by Christopher Timothy have been a treasure to me! I would recommend them to anyone!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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