Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Soul Medicine Week: Rob Thurman

Inscribed above the doorway to an ancient library in Thebes are words that translate to The medicine chest for the soul. I've always thought of books in a lot of ways -- as great companions, instant portals to other realms, the voices of friends who never abandon you -- but they also work wonders for a bruised and battered spirit.

This week I'd like to explore this theme and talk about the writers who so frequently rescue me from the blues. In my soul medicine chest of books are a few who by the power and originality of their work provide instant healing, and one of them is Rob Thurman.

When I first read Rob's debut novel Nightlife back in 2006, I was completely blown away (and made the very public mistake of tagging her as a guy writer. In my defense, she does not write like a chick.) Since that first amazing read, Rob's dark fantasy has saved me time and again from various doldrums; it is utterly impossible to be depressed or sulk while immersed in one of her worlds. Rob never bores me. I often purposely save her new books to read during times when I'll need a boost, although everything she writes is just as good on a reread.

Wherever she takes me on the page, Rob Thurman delivers great characters, incredibly detailed story with pacing that should be measured in machs. She still holds the #1 spot on my list for writing the best novel twist I've read, and I don't think anyone will ever take that title from her.

As it happens a few weeks ago we almost lost Rob, and while she was fighting her way back from her injuries I prayed and made a lot of promises to the Almighty in hopes that would add some weight to the survive side of the scale. So I can't have potato chips or donuts for the rest of the year, which is fine (okay, sacrificing chips will be tough, but God doesn't listen if you offer to give up something like spinach or squash. To be a legit sacrifice, it has to really hurt.)

I also promised myself that I would give away some of her books, a vow I intend to fulfill today. So in comments to this post, name an author or a book you read when you need a little medicine for your soul (or if you can't think of one, toss your name in the hat) by midnight EST on Thursday, September 22, 2011. I will draw four names at random from everyone who participates and send the winners unsigned copies of Chimera and Basilisk by Rob Thurman, along with a surprise. This giveaway is open to everyone on the planet, even if you've won something here at PBW in the past.

63 comments:

  1. I usually reach for Harry Potter when I need some "medicine"--always feels like returning to my best friends.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

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  2. David Weber or John Ringo are amongst my "go-to" writers for an when healthy escape is the object.

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  3. 1. This totally made me cry. Also solidified the belief that there are some great ppl in the writing community.

    2. I find myself re-reading Shannon K. Butcher's Delta Force series when I'm overwhelmed, sick, whatever. My favorite in the series is book one, NO REGRETS. There's just something magical about a hot special forces soldier who just can't shake this thing he has for the brainy, awkward, and passionate mathematician. It's all kinds of awesome.

    Elisa
    what_ever_for (at) cox (dot) net

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  4. Kris S1:39 AM

    Garden Spells is one I like to reach for when needed. Something about that apple tree will put a smile on my face when it doesn't want to smile.

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  5. I reach for Robin McKinley's Damar books, The Blue Sword and The Hero and the Crown. Old friends, good friends.

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  6. It's a tie between Julia Quinn and Nalini Singh.

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  7. For urban magic, Kate Griffin - her London is full of wonders and horrors, and Matthew Swift is the kind of protagonist who is flawed in all the right ways (a hero because he fights despite his fear). I know I'm in safe hands when I pick up one of her books.

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  8. The only things I re-read are Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, always good for a cheering!

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  9. Jennifer Crusie, Katie Allen, or Michael Connolly, depending on what type of "medicine" I need.

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  10. Any of Georgette Heyer's regency romances do it for me: the balls, the dresses, the witty exchanges between her heroes and heroines. Such good fun.

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  11. Oooh. Hmm, this is tough, but like Jessica, Harry Potter is a comfort read. Or Linda Howard's category romance novels.

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  12. bluebamboo7:19 AM

    Shanna Swendson's Enchanted Inc. series.

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  13. Marian Keyes. I can open a book in the middle and know immediately where I am because I've read them all so many times before, and it feels like coming home.

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  14. Diana Gabaldon's Outlander. I will never get tired of seeing Jamie and Claire meet and fall in love.

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  15. Anonymous8:40 AM

    Mercedes Lackey got me through tough times as a teenager. Her Valdemar books provide a dose of comfort and break from reality when I desperately need one. (Even got my husband hooked on them, he'd seen me re-reading them so often.)

    Holly Lisle and Anne Mccaffrey tie for second.

    Stephanie

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  16. David Weber and Shelley Laurenston.

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  17. Fran Kane9:23 AM

    Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series when I'm in need of a "feel good" boost and Georgette Heyer when I need to believe in love & romance.

    I've been wanting to read Rob Thurman for a while but have so many on my "to be read" pile, I haven't gotten around to buying her yet. Regardless of whether I win or not, I think she's just been pushed to the top of my "new buy" list.

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  18. Jim Butcher and Richelle Mead never fail to give me the escape I need when I've got the blues. When I'm missing my Grandma, I reach for Watership Down by Richard Adams.

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  19. Don't enter me in the drawing - because I've already got all of Rob's books. I just wanted to say that Seanan McGuire's books are medicine for my soul (both as herself and as her pseudonym, Mira Grant). She makes me remember why I write. =o)

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  20. If I need a lift, Janet Evanovich. Her Stephanie Plum series always brings back great memories and makes me laugh.

    Be Blessed,
    Jennifer

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  21. Any books by jacqueline Winspear and Deborah Crombie are sure to help me out. Many thanks.

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  22. I love Rob Thurman's books! I followed the updates on her progress on her website when she was in the accident and prayed too that she would pull out of it.

    When I need a good uplift, I reach for Rob's books. I also love Ilona Andrews and Shana Abe for the humor and action in their novels.

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  23. I don't know if my comment went through. Had to go through a bunch of google screens and it took me back here. So here is again. . .

    Love Rob Thurman! Love every character in all her books, from Cal and Niko to Trixie and the boys. I prayed for her when she was in the accident and am so glad she's doing better!

    When I need a good uplift, I also love to read and reread Ilona Andrews' books and Shana Abe. Both have the kind of humor and action that I enjoy!

    Thanks for the contest. Whether I win or not, I am so looking forward to reading Basilisk.

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  24. Anne V.10:29 AM

    Mercedes Lackey was always a staple. Rob was added to that list when I stumbled across her Leandros brothers. I've been hooked not only by her storytelling, but by her care for her reavers (also why I love this blog to pieces). She answered an email I wrote on behalf of myself and some students which thrilled our socks off! Jim Butcher also never fails to give me some courage when making hard choices.

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  25. What warms my heart and soul would be a book by tara Heavey.

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  26. I am going to sound like a suck up. I was eating lunch with a close friend yesterday discussing my separation agreement (without cause) from the company I worked for. She has had a serious illness and we both discovered that we were re-reading your Darkyn series to escape! How timely. Another comfort read for me is Jayne Anne Krentz. Not a lot of thinking required just take me away. Great topic. I am glad someone mentioned Sarah Addison Allen. I will have to pull out one of her books.

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  27. clairecherven10:49 AM

    It depends upon the lift I need; am I tired, depressed or hurting? Alas, there are too many to name.

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  28. I've got a shelf of books, but one of the first I grab is Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine. It's got the right touch of romance and humour to make me feel better.

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  29. Anonymous11:30 AM

    I've reread Nalini Singh's Archangel series several times, but my absolute "go to" is Kresley Cole. The stories, the characters, the adventures, the humor...works every time.

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  30. Oh, definitely Georgette Heyer. Her books make me laugh and just are all around comfort reads. In a related vein, I reread Bujold's "A Civil Campaign" far more than I should, because it just has so many great callbacks to the Regency while being a fantastic Vorkosigan saga entry, as well. And the butter bug battle can't help but make me laugh.

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  31. I think I have too many to name. It also depends on my mood. However, at the risk of sounding like a total suckup-Cherijo got me through some super tough times. I love that several commenters mentioned Georgette Heyer! I'll add Syliva Thorpe to my list.

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  32. Diana Gabaldon for romance, Patrick O'Brian for adventure,Janet Evanovich for laughs. I'm not familiar with Rob Thurman's work, but based on Lynn's recommendation I'm looking forward to reading "Nightlife" whether I win or not.

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  33. Despite not enjoying most other classics, I always go back to Little Women by Alcott. Something very comforting in the characters she creates means it pushes me into wanting to be a better person.

    Would love to find some more inspiring writers to 'escape' with: I think I'm becoming more and more critical in my old age!

    Cat

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  34. Anonymous12:33 PM

    Mercedes Lackey and some of the earlier Anne McCaffrey.

    Sari from Michigan

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  35. Another vote for OUTLANDER by Diana Gabaldon.

    Your site is always a terrific read, too, Lynn. Thanks for turning me on to another great author.

    Sheri

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  36. Surprisingly enough, the book I find myself turning to is "The secret of everything" by Barbara O'Neal. I'm not sure why...there's just something about it that makes me feel good. Before that...I tended to let music do the lifting while I wrote. I wrote some of my best stuff while down and out.

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  37. If I need a quick pick-me-up, I reach for something by Johanna Lindsey, Anne McCaffrey, Nora Roberts, Dean Koontz David Farland, or Terry Goodkind. It really just depends on my mood.

    krheiser at gmail dot com

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  38. Rob is an amazing, frightening author. I've never said this about a woman before, but that chick gives me nightmares. I love it. She is one of my top-recommended authors because of her ability to scare me and the fact that she's been an amazing person each and every time I've spoken to her.

    But I digress...anytime I need a pick-me-up, I either read Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost or Hex and the Single Girl by Valerie Frankel. Definitely my go-to stories!

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  39. Rosina Lipp, Diana Gabaldon, J.K. Rowling - depends on my mood on which author I pick up. Have just finished Garden Spells, I might add that to my list too.

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  40. Diana Gabaldon or J.R. Ward are my goto soul medicine writers. :)

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  41. Wow, you gave up potato chips? That's some seriously committed good thoughts. :) I've never read Rob Thurman, but you've interested me enough to go check out her books, even if I don't win one from you. I'll also be checking out all of the other books on this list.

    I think I'd have to say the Harry Potter books are my go-to when I'm feeling bleah. They're kinda like comfort food.

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  42. I usually pick up a Nora Roberts when I need soothing. Great post!

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  43. I usually read the Bible for a lift but if I want to get away from my problems I like to read the Star Doc series or vampire stories.

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  44. Immortal Highlander by Karen Marie Moning, but to get the full gist of why I cry like a baby every time I read it, you really need to read the series to see how much of a p**** he was at the beginning. And Rose in Winter by Woodiwiss. Old school maybe, but still uplifting.

    I've never read Thurman, but followed her accident and subsequent progress and am glad she's doing better.

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  45. Georgette Heyer when I'm sick.

    Barbara Michaels when I need distracting.

    Now I have to go find Bujold's "A Civil Campaign"!

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  46. Books by Lisa Kleypas and Elizabeth Hoyt are my go to read when I need soothing.

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  47. Can't resist asking: exactly how does a chick write?

    Favorite pick me up books: A Fistful of Sky - Nina Kiriki Hoffman; Howl's Moving Castle - Dyanne Wynne Jones; Enchanted Forest Chronicles - Patricia Wrede; etc.

    Would love to try Rob's books. On my TBR list - just haven't quite got there yet!

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  48. GerryDL8:56 PM

    Always Georgette Heyer - she has been my comfort read for decades. Also Patricia Briggs, the Korval books by Lee/Miller, Jennifer Crusie, and anything by Lois Bujold. Books have helped get me through every bad time in my life. Authors rule!

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  49. Lauren Dane, Robert Heinlein
    Mercedes Lackey, , Elizabeth Moon, Lilith Saintcrow
    David Weber or similar for comfort reads that require concentration. When I need totally mindless, I go for basic romances complete with all the ridiculous tropes, TTSL characters, etc.

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  50. My ultimate comfort read is The Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas. One of my favorite kinds of heroes is the reformed rake, and the hero in this story is amazing! No matter what kind of mood I'm in, this book is always a winner.

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  51. Bridge of Birds by Barry Hughart always makes me smile (and cry a little, but in a good way).

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  52. It's Jim Butcher's books for me.

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  53. I have a lot of books/authors I use as "soul medicine." What I pull out, usually depends on my mood. I may pull out Kim Harrison, Lynsay Sands, Amelia Atwater-Rhodes, JR Ward, JD Robb, Kerrelyn Sparks, Laurell K. Hamilton,etc.

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  54. It would depend on why I need pick me up. Mostly I'd reach for one of the Harry Potter books. Or something by Agatha Christie. But there's also Sherrilyn Kenyon's Night Play and the second part of Acheron (the first part I read only if I'm on a happy-happy overload or in the mood for something that will make me cry).

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  55. Anonymous4:51 AM

    tossing my name into the hat - Heather from Oz

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  56. Briana N8:30 AM

    My medicine chest consists of books written by you and J. R. Ward.
    ~ Briana from Canada

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  57. AthenaW1:23 PM

    Anything by Lilith Saintcrow. Her characters have survived the worst things you could imagine but they still pick themselves up and keep on tickin'

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  58. I'm not sure about 'medicine for the soul' but if I suddenly heard devastating news and had a lot of time to reflect on it (in a hospital waiting room or prison cell, I suppose) I'd reread Terry Pratchett, because he is funny and wise. In that case I'd be dragging around a rather larger rolling backpack and I might stuff Jeff Smith's the complete 'Bone' graphic novel into a bag hanging off the handle. Because it is charming and good hearted, as well as being a good story and well drawn.

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  59. C.S. Friedman is my go-to.

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  60. I go through author cycles with comfort books. Once it was Tolkien (especially The Hobbit), then Gerald Durrell, then James Herriot, then Terry Pratchett, and after that Jennifer Crusie. Right now it's Georgette Heyer.

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  61. Books by either Virginia Andrews (pre V.C Andrews) or Jennifer Armintrout. Are my Pick-Me-Ups.

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  62. When I am down, I look for a good Happily Ever After novel. Some of my favorite authors are Robyn Carr, Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Jennifer Cruisie. If life can't be that way all the time, I am glad there are books out there that can be!

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  63. paxunicorn11:07 PM

    Since I am a book addict, the list seems endless. But lstely I would say Ann Bishop's Dark Jewel Trilogy
    and Mary Jo Putney's Shattered Rainbow.

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