Thursday, October 3, 2013

A Great Author Born On This Day

James Alfred Wight
Oct. 3rd, 1926- Feb. 23rd, 1995

I can't remember what age I was when my mom handed me one of James Herriot's books. I just remember that I devoured it, loved it, and wanted to read everything he'd ever written. JH was one of the reasons I wanted to be a vet(until I learned how many years it took(8) and required strong math skills(ha.ha.)).

James Alfred Wight(pen name James Herriot) was a country vet who started practicing in the 1940's in Yorkshire. Now for those of you who've I've just lost b/c you're not a fan of animals: hang on. Herriot's books are as much about people as they are animals. He was a master of making human nature come to life on the page- but he did it humbly, with simple words.

And if you are an animal lover, then who wouldn't love to read about dogs and cats, sheep and pigs, cows and horses? Also, I have to admit, JH is the reason I won't eat lamb. I've fond memories of being curled up in a chair reading about soft, wiggly lambs being born on cold, windy hillsides. Anytime I do think I'd like to try a genuine gyro, those memories rare their inconvenient heads. So far I've not ate lamb in all my twenty-nine years. (Now steak on the other hand...)

In honor of Herriot's birthday, I'd like to give away one of his books, James Herriot's Animal Stories. This is a collection of his work w/beautiful, whimsical illustrations. There's also a Cat Stories and Dog Stories, if you're so inclined more strongly toward one than the other. I once owned Cat Stories but that is a tale for another time(like if you loan out books make sure it's understood that you want them BACK!)

If you're a fan of JH and would like Animal Stories, all you have to do is comment. And if you've not read him yet, then I promise you this'll be a treat! Here's the book, just waiting to find its new home:


Anyone who comments from between 10/3 and 10/4 will be entered to win. Good luck!

Happy Birthday, James Herriot!!!
 
*Also, b/c I'm feeling lazy(sorry), I'm just going to announce the winner in the comments section. 




39 comments:

  1. Funny but I never knew this was a pen name. I think we come to love authors and just assume that's their real name, but with so many using pen names we really can't just assume, can we?

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    1. I was sort of crushed when I found out it was a pen name. There was no way he could be anything other than James Herriot to me, lol!

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  2. My father studied animal science in college and loved JH. I grew up on his stories and have a CD for kids of them. Just timeless. I didn't realize it was a pen name either. Cool.

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    1. I definitely want to get James Herriot's pb, 'Only One Woof' for my little guy(and me!).

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  3. I think I may already have this book (can't check at the moment, most of my books are sadly still packed away) so please don't enter me in this draw, but I just wanted to say how glad I am that you are talking about James Herriot on your blog! My gram gave me a book of his many, many years ago, and I still love to look at it. Moses the kitten is the story that springs to mind for me whenever I hear someone refer to this wonderful author.

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    1. That one's definitely heart-warming! Didn't the farm wife pop him in the oven to get him all warmed up? =)

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  4. There is something to be said about treasuring a favorite author. I'm embarrassed to say I've only kinda heard of him. I guess I wasn't an animal story lover when I was a kid. And I love animals!

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    1. I've always been an animal lover, too, though my dog is lucky to get a pat on the head now that we've got a little person to attend to. I'm sure she longs for the days when we were kidless!

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  5. I have a copy already, so I won't enter, but just wanted to say that I love his books! I've been attempting to remember the story my mom always read to us at Christmas about a kitten that forever left us all bawling (The Christmas Kitten? I need to go google!). He's an amazing author!!

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    1. That he is! Is that story the one about the lady w/the three basset hounds and then she gets a black kitten on Christmas when the momma cat has it there at her house? I think it is...

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  6. HIs books were my favourite when I was a kid. I read them over and over! X Jane

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    1. So nice to know that I'm not alone in my JH love! =)

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  7. I didn't know James Herriot was a pen name, but I love his books. I had to chuckle at what put you off being a vet. For my niece, it was when she learned she might have to put her hand up a cow's butt. :D Oh, and don't enter me to win anything. I win too often!!!

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    1. Yeah, I was pretty horrified to learn about that aspect of it, lol! You do WHAT...WHERE?! Eew...

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  8. Late to his BD, but wanted to show my appreciation.

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  9. I haven't read any of his books. I'll have to check them out.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog.

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    1. Definitely do! And welcome, and thanks in return! ;)

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  10. And the winner of Animal Stories is.... Mirka Breen!

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  11. I discovered JH late in life, but dearly loved his writings. I treasure the memories of holding grandkids in my lap and reading "Smudge, the Little Lost Lamb" to them. After seeing Smudge almost get run over by a bus and car I don't think any of them ever entertained the idea of running away from home. And his four books based on the poem: "All things bright and beautiful, All creatures great and small, All things wise and wonderful, The Lord God made them all," were a delight to read.

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    1. I'll have to see about getting Smudge- I'd not heard of it!

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  12. Congratulations to Mirka! I've heard of him but never read him either. I will now :)

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    1. You won't regret it! Just keep some tissues handy... ;)

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  13. wow - what a great contest! You don't see JH books given away every day. I think I've read all of them, I remember breezing through the library collection when I was young. I wanted to be a vet when I grew up!

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    1. It always sounds like the best profession ever when you're young, doesn't it? =) At least small animal practice anyway!

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  14. Hi Leandra,

    An interesting and informative post. Thanks for sharing. My daughter had this great yearning to be a vet when she was a teen!

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    1. You're welcome! Well, whatever it is your daughter is doing, I hope she's as happy as JH was in his profession. =)

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  15. Ackkkk, I missed the deadline! Looks like a fantastic book and congrats to Mirka. I haven't read JH so thanks for introducing him to us. (I am an animal lover. :))

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  16. I haven't read any of his books. I'll have to check them out.

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    1. They're so good! You won't regret it, promise.

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  17. I love his books. I re-read All Creatures Great and Small every 3 or 4 years. I read a biography of him by his son. It was interesting to see how he fictionalized his life in his books.

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    1. I've been wanting to get that one. I have a biography of him that someone else wrote, and I've a feeling I'd enjoy the one by his son alot more.

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  18. So nice and well written post, a tribute to the author, though i never read him but your post inspired me.

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  19. What a great post:) Me too when I was young read his books and wanted to be a vet:) I love his books.

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    1. They are the best! I will forever be grateful that my mom handed them to me.

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  20. I never knew that was his pen name. I ADORE all his books. I read them while I was in high school and the memory makes me smile to this day. He could really tell an anecdote. Thanks so much for reminding me of the joy I experienced while reading his books. :-)
    (And yes, I totally wanted to be a vet for a while!!)

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    1. Welcome! That's how he makes me feel too- all warm and fuzzy! =)

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