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The Best of James Herriot: The Favorite Stories of One of the Most Beloved Writers of Our Time

4.50  ·  Rating Details  ·  990 Ratings  ·  59 Reviews

The Best of James Herriot is one of the most extraordinary volumes ever devoted to the work and world of a contemporary writer. Within its covers are unforgettable episodes from the remarkable series of memoirs that began with All Creatures Great and Small-"the ones my family and I have laughed at over the years and the ones my readers have said they most enjoyed," as Her
Hardcover, The Complete Edition Updated and Expanded, 544 pages
Published September 28th 1998 by St. Martin's Press (first published 1983)
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One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr SolzhenitsynA Midsummer Night's Dream by William ShakespeareTwelfth Night by William ShakespeareA Night to Remember by Walter LordThe Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
Time Passages
453rd out of 481 books — 44 voters
James Herriott - If Only They Could Talk/It Shouldn't Happen ... by James HerriotJames Herriot's Cat Stories by James HerriotAll Creatures Great and Small by James HerriotAll Creatures Great and Small & All Things Bright and Beautiful by James HerriotIf Only They Could Talk by James Herriot
Best of James Herriot
48th out of 84 books — 2 voters

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Community Reviews

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Mar 04, 2015 Negin rated it really liked it
Reading this makes me want to return to Yorkshire for a visit. I’m also eager to read more books by James Herriot. This edition is beautifully illustrated with drawings and photos. I may even try some of the recipes.
Oct 16, 2011 Theresa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: re-reading
I'm re-reading books that I own. This is a favorite with many short stories. Anyone that isn't reading James Herriot to their children should be.
Apr 18, 2014 Sarah rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014
This may be the best book I've read this year. For an Anglophile such as myself, this book is an immersion into the world of the Yorkshire Dales, circa 1940s. Herriot does not sugar coat veterinary work - animals are badly injured, die, give birth and survive and James Herriot chronicles all of it. He does not dumb down the medical terminology either. His writing is warm and funny, but also gives life to the people and animals that appear in his books.

This is a collection of stories from his ot
Apr 20, 2011 Shauntelle rated it it was amazing
This is for you Lisa D.! It is my understanding that several people have declined the offer from our dear friend, and book supplier Lisa D., to read this amazing book! I understand the mere size of it makes it appear to be a daunting task but you couldn't be more wrong! I loved this book! His ability to tell stories is truly a gift. I found myself laughing out loud and yes, occasionally, shedding a tear as he wove me into his many and varied experiences as a Country Vet. He was quirky and charmi ...more
I really wanted to give this book 4 stars, as it was a wonderful collection of James Herriot's stories, made even better by all the fabulous photos and snippets of information concerning the areas and times the author is talking about. I ended up with about 4 pages of recipes, and I've even made two of them already. Fascinating. Unfortunately, I find it really difficult to read - or watch for that matter - about situations where people are humiliated, and there are a number of them in this book, ...more
Sep 23, 2007 Melissa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
I LOVED this book - I wasn't able to suppress my laughter at times... and 'that's' saying something! I've also read other collections of his, but would recommend this one since the stories (though a partial collection) are in chronological order so you keep track of persons etc. I adore his retelling of courtship blunders- READ IT!!

These are vet stories - so get ready for all sorts of fun!
Jan 27, 2014 Holly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: limey-bastards
Although I have read all of James Herriot's books and most of these stories were familiar to me, this book was still a joy to read. The illustrations were a wonderful addition to the old tales. The informational side notes and illustrations were helpful, as many of the old farm tools, implements and veterinary devices he mentions are not familiar to most of us readers.

The photography included provides the necessary visual to go along with Herriot's descriptions of the natural beauty of Yorkshir
Sep 06, 2010 Kristin rated it it was amazing
Absolutely loved it! Totally delightful and highly recommended. It was our book club book. I was wary of "a lame animal story collection" and was joyously surprised to find it to be not lame at all!
Paul Miller
Mar 06, 2016 Paul Miller rated it it was amazing
This is a compilation of the best loved stories from James Herriot's books about his experiences as a country vet in the Yorkshire Dales. If you have read the other books he has written, you won't find any new stories here, but what you will find are lots of awesome photographs, some recipes, descriptions of some of the tools vets and farmers used, and lots more. I have read the original 5 books in the All Creatures series many times, but I love sitting down with this volume and immersing myself ...more
"The warm and magical stories of country veterinarian James Herriot have captured the imagination of readers all over the world. Ever since the publication of All Creatures Great and Small almost thirty years ago, Herriot's tales of life lived on the dales of Yorkshire, England, have become dear to generations of readers, young and old. As a writer he had gifts aplenty: beguiling wit, infinite understanding, a master's touch in the art of storytelling. Through his volumes of memories, through hi ...more
Oct 01, 2010 Camille rated it really liked it
I'm sorry this took me so long to read Lisa. I started this book well over two months ago on a trip down to St. George. When the trip was over, I was almost half way finished with it; then school started and work picked up and I didn't have time to breath, let alone read anything. With school in session I figured out that if I took the book on tests days, I could read after I was through with my test, and while I waited for my friend to finish hers. Today was a test day, and that is why this boo ...more
Oct 26, 2008 Andrew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have such a fond spot in my heart for James Herriot, I'll admit it. His love for his life is inspiring. He loves taking care of these animals, he loves the place he lives and he loves his family, especially his beloved wife Helen, and it shines through in these semi-autobiographical memoirs of his life as a country vet in England Yorkshire area, specifically, the Dales.

The author of All Creatures Great and Small, and several other books chronicling his adventures with Seigfried and Tristan, pu
Dec 26, 2008 Ginny rated it it was amazing
Loved it, loved it, loved it! This book slides nicely and effortlessly into my personal faves category. It really is… “The Best of James Herriot!” (Funny how the title of a book can be so descriptive:) Herriot’s bachelor days are the most entertaining to me, probably because there is more of Tristan and Siegfried. I was glad to see that Tristan seems to become a respectable citizen later in life, but he was a lot funnier when he was a good-for-nothin’, lazy, loafing, destroy-everything-he-touche ...more
Mar 21, 2016 Colleen rated it it was amazing
The Best Of James Herriot
This was his autobiography, sort of, told to the backdrop of his endless stories of his work as a veterinarian. I loved it to pieces! And two of my favorite stories from Cat Stories (James Herriot) found their way into this book. The last story was sadder than I expected, but I think it was an encouragement to his fellow veterinarians. Both books are great for animal people like me.
Oct 23, 2015 Olivia rated it really liked it
Shelves: library, non-fiction
As a child, I was always enchanted by James Herriot's stories about the dogs and cats he treated. When I found this book at the library, I knew I had to read it. I was enchanted once again, but in a different way than when I was a child. There were so many more details and descriptions of the locations than what I had read before. I got a greater sense of Herriot's character and the land he called home. The pictures that were included added another level of beauty to this book.
I’ve always loved James Herriot’s stories but this collection takes the cake. The gorgeous color photographs at the beginning of each section really serve to help the reader understand exactly how remote and wild the Dales were during Herriot’s career. Heck, they probably haven’t changed all that much since. Also enjoyable are the sketches and sidebars that show little details of farm life.
Apr 15, 2016 Maggie rated it it was amazing
I loved these delightful and gentle tales from a veterinarian beginning his practice in Yorkshire during the years of the second world war. These amusing and heartfelt stories bring to brilliant life the character, charm and vicissitudes of life in these much simpler and often harsh times. The stories brought both laughter and tears and was wholly absorbing and enjoyable.
Apr 10, 2016 Ashley marked it as to-read
Own in hardback.

FS: "It was hot in the rickety little bus and I was on the wrong side where the July sun beat on the windows."

LS: "I tell you this, James. There are great days ahead!"
Sep 23, 2008 Kristi rated it really liked it
Shelves: my-top-15
Is this book about people's pets or pets' people or both? I love the writings of James Herriot for so many reasons! I can pick up one of his books and read from cover to cover or just a story at a time, and in either situation I come away satisfied. I laugh, I learn about animals and medicine, I reflect on human nature and families, I am transported to another era. It's always an enjoyable experience:)
This edition in particular is fun because it contains sections of interest to Herriot's readers
Nov 21, 2010 Richard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a large edition of selected stories that were included in his original books printed the 60s and 70s. Also include in the book are numerous pages of delightful colored pictures of Yorkshire and the areas where Herriot practiced his medicine. While I read most his books originally, most of these stories were ‘like new’ to me. This was a Reader’s Digest edition printed in 1982. Herriot is a wonderful story teller. I would recommend this edition if you can find it. The beautiful color photo ...more
Apr 15, 2008 Bee rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I'm a big James Herriot fan. My dad had this great, oversized, hardcover edition of the 'best of' when I was a kid, and it was a favorite I'd curl up with on sick days. I think his stories are best read aloud, if you can make it through some of them without laughing too much and sounding incoherent, or best listened to on audio tape. James Herriot is also my go to guy for listening materials if I ever go on road trips with my parents.
Don Stanton
Jan 05, 2011 Don Stanton rated it it was amazing
I laughed until I cried at his stories. Not only a gifted Veterinarian, but just as good with a pen. Even today 15 years after reading the book, (everyone in ht e family read it) all we have to do is say a word or two and everyone begins to laugh. It's a treasure for sure. I heartily recommend this book to anyone that can use a good dose of real life humor after reading a series of intense dramas or history books.
Nov 19, 2013 LeeAnn rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical, biography
It has been years since I've read James Herriot's books, but this one brought it all back to me. I giggled through much of it, and that was a delight. I loved looking through through the pictures, transporting me back to those days in the dales. I've never been there, and I'm sure it has changed radically anyway, so it was a treat. Well written, and the stories weave beautifully into each other. How does he do it?!
Apr 23, 2008 Ponnuswamy rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
I have of course read all the James Herriots before, but I LOVE this edition! This not only has all the beloved stories, but also includes beautiful photos of the Yorkshire Dales and surrounding areas that Herriot writes so much about along with write-ups about the history of the places.
It's my refuge now after each crappy day of work! Sorry -- just venting. But Herriot just lightens my mood!
Dec 30, 2012 Nancy rated it really liked it
A very charming collection of stories, as I understand, based on the life of James Herriot as a vet in rural Yorkshire in the 1940's, but not necessarily entirely true! Wonderful descriptions of country life with colorful, lovable characters! A very hopeful outlook is pervasive throughout the book, which is an unusual thing in literature nowadays.
Dec 02, 2012 Kati rated it it was amazing
Fantastic light read. Stories are great of a small English town filled with humor. The version I read was also filled with drawings in the margins with small snippets of text describing animals, tools and foods. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this and would recommend it to anyone. I will be finding more books by this author to read-I am hooked!
Mar 14, 2008 Lisa rated it it was amazing
One of my all-time favorites! About a country veterinarian who lived in Yorkshire, England. You don't have to be an animal lover to enjoy this book--I'm not! I love the way he tells a story; so witty and warm and laugh-out-loud funny! I've read and re-read the stories in this book.
Jan 13, 2013 Quinn rated it it was amazing
when i was little, my grandparents gave me this book for Christmas. The pictures of Herriot's countryside made/make me want to visit the dales. The stories are hilarious, sweet, and sad--characteristics often applicable to literature about animals.
Feb 13, 2008 Rebecca rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: homeschoolers, animal lovers
This is a delightful read. I have been reading it aloud to my children and we have all enjoyed it immensely! We've laughed and cried as we have shared the antics of this british country vet. I especially enjoy his use of language.
Feb 20, 2011 Sara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
James Harriot is the best 'animal author' - he brings tears to your eyes through his tales and also paints a lovely picture of the English countryside. I find myself missing England every time I read a work of his.
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James Herriot is the pen name of James Alfred Wight, OBE, FRCVS also known as Alf Wight, an English veterinary surgeon and writer. Wight is best known for his semi-autobiographical stories, often referred to collectively as All Creatures Great and Small, a title used in some editions and in film and television adaptations.

In 1939, at the age of 23, he qualified as a veterinary surgeon with Glasgow
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