Every Living Thing, hit the top of my to-read list this month and has proven to be the perfect calming read for these chaotic times. James Herriot’s joy in his Yorkshire home, love of his work, kindness to people and pets alike, and self-deprecating humor are the definition of a heart-warming read and shine in all five titles of his All Creatures Great and Small series.
So great has been my pleasure in reading it, I went on a quest for other gentle, heart-warming stories of kindness to others and joy in one’s place.
In another biography featuring a love of animals, Gerald Durrell recalls his childhood as a member of an unconventional English family on the Greek island of Corfu in My Family and Other Animals, the first of a trilogy. Joyful chaos ensues as the family villa becomes home to an increasing number of indigenous insects, amphibians, reptiles, and birds.
Alexander McCall Smith’s fictional Precious Ramotswe takes as much pride in her Botswana home as James Herriot does in Yorkshire. Understanding the human nature (and humanity) of those involved is the primary modus operandi for solving mysteries (that don’t involve dead bodies) in the Ladies #1 Detective Agency series. Perfectly paired with a cup of tea.
The fictional small town of Mitford, North Carolina is the setting of Jan Karon’s series about Father Tim, an Episcopalian rector with a heart of gold (though he’d be the first to tell you it’s tarnished). Eccentric acquaintances become beloved friends as they struggle with each other’s quirks and help each other through personal crises.
And, of course, any list of inspired kindness would be incomplete with Mr. Rogers. With his trademark cardigan, he may be best known for teaching generations of preschoolers about growing up with empathy and compassion. Read a biography, watch a bio-pic, or introduce your kids to the ultimate example of a good neighbor.