What do you read when you need comforting? All creatures great and small by James Herriot

   Jacket cover: The best of James Herriot Don't deny this happens to you.  We all get down, hit a rough patch, lose a job or get a divorce.  Sometimes a gripping action movie is just what you need.  But sometimes nothing works but a good, heartwarming laugh. For those moments, there is one author I can always count on.  He's gone now, but his works will endure. The author is James Herriot, whose real name was James Alfred Wight, or Alf. The books are collectively known as All creatures great and small, as was  the BBC tv series. Every book is funny and real and outrageous, even the most frustrating incident or angriest quarrel.  Jim, as Alf calls himself in the books, is perfect for giving us the courage to keep on trying when we see ourselves too clearly. Alf became a veterinary surgeon in 1939, joining a veterinary clinic in Yorkshire in 1940.  The books are mostly autobiographical, although the main people argue about this.
    The massive changes that came to Yorkshire during Herriot's career are recorded lovingly and wryly. And somehow Alf Wight gets us through war, financial hardship, grief, and even flat tires, never losing his optimism. How can you help but smile when the neighbor's Golden Retriever is waiting its turn in line for the playground slide? Or accept the wisdom in his conclusion that, if you can't catch your patient (in that particular instance, an evil cat), then it's just not that sick. We all know someone like the man who meanders home drunk every Saturday night, does a final check on the livestock and finds some emergency that requires immediate attention--at 3 am on a cold wintry night. Herriot's story of the drunken singing villager, locking him out and forgetting him--twice, will make you grateful for your warm indoor job.  These books will cheer you, warm you, and help you to love the unloveable world around you once again. For starters, try The best of James Herriot. ~ Tessa Eger    5 out of 5 stars