Bow down, for the king of love stories (and tearjerkers) continues his reign!
In his latest novel, Two by Two (out October 4), Nicholas Sparks explores the relationship between a dad and his 5-year-old daughter. “Whenever I sit down to conceive a new story, I try to come up with something that I haven't done before. Something that will feel fresh and original to the readers,” Sparks, 50, tells Us Weekly. “This is a story about a man whose life goes into a bit of an upheaval. He finds himself being thrust into the role of Mr. Mom. I captured kids at an age before you blink and they become new people.”
Now, the author of 19 bestsellers — The Notebook, The Last Song, and Dear John, among others — invites Us to browse his bookshelves. Here, a few of his favorite reads:
Before the Fall by Noah Hawley
Sparks says he was “blown away” by the story — recommended to him by his agent — about a plane crash and its two survivors: “The pages kept endlessly turning!” Fun fact: Hawley also wrote Fargo!
A Doubter’s Almanac by Ethan Canin
One of his all-time favorite authors, Canin “infuses stories with characters who feel so authentic,” Sparks shares. “This one is a look at genius and sanity, all told within the context of a family. Ethan Canin is an amazing literary stylist.”
The City of Mirrors by Justin Cronin
The post-apocalyptic novel “is a wonderful end” to the Passage trilogy, praises Sparks: “Cronin takes vampires and the end of the world — things that have been wildly overworked in recent years — and makes them seem fresh, new, unique and compelling.” Even though he’s finished the saga, it remains on his future reading list. Adds Sparks, “I will reread to another half dozen times.”
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
The Walk to Remember author recommends everyone read the “highly original” thriller, even if they’ve seen the 2014 film starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike. (Eleven of Sparks' novels have been adapted into movies!) Sparks is also in awe of Flynn herself. “She’s among the best of all commercial novelists,” he tells Us. “She’s a staggeringly good writer.”
Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance
After finishing the “compelling” memoir about growing up with a promiscuous mom and crude grandparents, “I read it a second time!” Sparks says. “That’s only the fourth time in my life I have done that. It's such a great book on so many levels. Not only was it very well written, it's also engaging.”
The Power Broker by Robert Caro
The Pulitzer Prize–winning biography tells the story behind New York City’s creation and the man pulling all the strings: Robert Moses. “This is an absolutely phenomenal book,” says Sparks. “Robert Moses was far and away the most powerful man in New York City for about 50 years. I'll let you be surprised by how much Robert Moses did.”
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