Aug 27, 2010

From my bookshelf - 2


I am back from a 5-day trip to our hometown to celebrate Onam with our family members. And I made a trip to my favorite hometown bookstore where I have a VIP Home Library Scheme membership to collect my annual quota of free books. I got to finally complete my James Herriot collection with the title I had been missing! I had all of Herriot's omnibus editions except "All Creatures Great and Small" and here is my collection!

For those of you who have not read the James Herriot series - it is a collection of stories about a vet practising in the Yorkshire Dales right before the World War II started. James Herriot, a Glasgow lad fresh our of veterinary college finds a place as assistant to Siegfried Farnon in the Yorkshire Dales - a place and a situation he finds so agreeable to his tastes that he decides to settle there. The books are filled with stories of his interactions with some remarkable animals and even more remarkable human beings - all told in an easy, humourous manner. I read his books first when I borrowed them from the Kottayam Public Library as a teenager and I have never forgotten the wonderfully eccentric Farnon brothers, Herriot's disastrously hesitant wooing of Helen, the larger-than-life Granville Bennett, and several animals including the wonderful Tricki Woo who descended from Chinese emperors.

So I went looking for his books once again and found that his magic is stronger than otherwise. I now appreciate his love for his job and the place he chose to call home. His descriptions are enough to make one believe that the Yorkshire Dales are the best place to be on earth even in the extremely unhospitable winters. And there is so much human and animal goodness shining through that his books are the first things I turn to when I feel the need for something to break a sombre mood. I read Herriot and the world becomes a brighter place once again.

Have you read Herriot? Which of his characters do you like the best?

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