If Only They Could Talk
It Shouldn’t Happen To A Vet
Let Sleeping Vets Lie
Vet In Harness
Vets Might Fly
Vets In A Spin
I read the above works by James Herriot for the first time almost twenty years ago, and I’ve reread them countless times since then. It’s hard to find a writer this lovable. As you probably guessed from the titles, James was a veterinary surgeon in the 1930s in Yorkshire, England. His compassion, love and sense of humor are obvious in his writings, both towards his patients as well as their owners. His opening chapter describes his struggle to deliver a calf in the middle of the night, while the farmer has little faith in him, as he is a young, inexperienced vet. The book has countless such anecdotes from angry bulls to delightful kittens and cheeky parrots. One of the most interesting segments is about Tricki Woo, a pampered Pekinese dog belonging to a rich old lady. Equal importance is given to the farmers, their crusty exterior hiding some of the most generous and wonderful people one could meet. And of course there is the love of his life, Helen, but I won’t say more.
Early in the book James joins the veterinary practices of Siegfried, one of the most interesting and entertaining characters you can meet in literature. One can only wish such hilarious and understanding bosses existed in real life too. James was certainly lucky to have one. And even more entertaining is Siegfried’s younger brother Tristan, a fun-loving veterinary student who waltzes in and out of the house and the books, adding more hilarity. But it is not all laughs. There are many moments when this writing can bring tears to your eyes, especially when a beloved animal passes away or has to be put down.
In the last three books James and Siegfried are enlisted in the Royal Air Force (RAF) to serve in WWI. He weaves those tales in and out of the ones of his old life as a vet with mastery. This is a large volume of writing, but it never gets boring because his insight into human and animal nature is profound. These books are so vivid and enriching, they leave you feeling that you lived in his world. James Herriot takes you right into the lives and hearts of the people he knew, and makes you feel as if you know them too.
PS: Sorry for the lousy picture but it's the only one of the edition I own that I could find online.
Am I Blue
Edited by: Marion Dane Bauer
Keywords: Young adult, LGBTQ, Authentic
This is a collection of short stories by various authors, all portraying the theme of growing up gay or lesbian, or with gay/lesbian parents, family or friends. They are realistic, humorous at times, and moving. Some of the stories illuminate that moment when a character realizes that someone she or he knows well is lesbian or gay. The tales explore the internal and external turmoil this can cause, and the reactions of other people. Emotionally rich, engaging and varied, this book is definitely worth a read. More significantly, it open our eyes to the struggles of the protagonists, and the complexity of trying to fit into a world that’s not yet progressive and accepting enough.
Kill Your Friends
Author: John Niven
Genre: Crime Fiction
Keywords: Dark. Extreme. Hilarious.
Normally, I wouldn’t read a book like Kill Your Friends because I tend to stick to other genres, but I’m glad I stepped out of my reading comfort zone for this one. From the get go it’s gripping, irreverent and dark. Told in the first person, the narrator is quite simply, a real asshole, with absolutely no moral compass or character whatsoever. His attitude and behavior is unlike anything you’ve read before. The second half of the book gets darker, as his evil side comes to the fore. This book is not for the faint of the heart or those who are offended by foul language and even fouler ideas. The writer has really got under the character’s skin, something that few can do with such flair. I read it in two or three sittings, as I couldn’t bear to stop. A refreshing, endlessly entertaining and slightly chilling read.
The New Yorker