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.