All Creatures Great and Small is a class written in 1972, but I just discovered it. It is now an all-time favorite.
The author is the main character. James Herriot (a pen name) evidently kept a journal through the years about his experiences as a country veterinary surgeon. Each chapter tells one of his experiences. They follow in chronological order, so it reads like the story of his first year in practice. It is at times hilarious and at times tense as he deals with difficult cases.
James Herriot had the good fortune to be hired as assistant to a vet in Darrowby in Yorkshire Dales. He fell in love with the highland countryside. We learn quite a bit about what a country vet deals with–the real danger in working with large farm animals, the weather, being on call 24-hours-a-day, etc. I was surprised at how much detailed information was given about the actual care of the animals. I was even more surprised that it was actually interesting.
I highly recommend this very entertaining book.
Update on 2009-09-22 23:26 by William
The series of books turned into a terrific BBC series now available to watch online or download on Netflix.