10 Reasons We Love Nicholas Sparks

Nicholas Sparks

OK. We know. Nicholas Sparks can be corny. Our moms like him and, no, he's no Dostoevsky. But hear us out. With four of his books already adapted into film, and two more slated for 2010—including the forthcoming Dear John (the YourTango partner that inspired us to write this post)—perhaps its worth considering that Sparks knows something about love and life that we don't. In ascending order, here are the top 10 reasons we can't get enough of Nicholas Sparks.

10. He doesn't mind when we cry. In fact, he encourages it, gifting us with weep-tastic storylines rife with youthful romance, unfortunate death, star-crossed (or long-term, or tragedy-ridden) lovers, reconnection against all odds and outsized emotions.

9. He's warm and fuzzy. Light some candles. Set the mood. On second thought, don't even bother. When you're reading Nicholas Sparks, there's no reason to set the scene, because Sparks has already done it for you. His words have the ability to make even the most cheesy love scenes come alive, which may explain why so many of them have been brought to visual life onscreen.

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8. His fiction is based in reality…or at least his reality. While the plots of his novels make us bemoan the fact that such romance does not—or cannot—actually exist, Sparks doggedly continues to be a fictional character come alive. A believer in old-fashioned romantic gestures, he regularly writes his wife, Cathy, love letters, or surprises her with romantic getaways. Sparks gushes that Cathy is the love of his life and, in an interview with Sydney, Australia’s Sun Herald, said, "The moment I met my wife I knew I would marry her."

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7. He has given his loved ones the gift of immortality. Remember Jamie, the young cancer victim in A Walk To Remember, whose dreams of love and marriage come true not long before she dies? The character was reportedly inspired by Danielle Sparks Lewis, the author's younger sister, who met a man who wanted to marry her despite her own terminal illness. Sparks' other novels are similarly peppered with people from his life, and we love that he continues to honor them in his writing.

6. He's a giver. In case you weren't aware, Sparks is well known for his generosity. He donated $1.5 million to the creative writing department of his alma mater, the University of Notre Dame, and donated almost $900,000 towards a track for the local high school in the North Carolina town where he and his family live.

5. He's a smarty-pants. You wouldn't know it from his purple prose, but Sparks has got brains to match his oversized heart. He graduated from Bella Vista High School in 1984 as the valedictorian of his class, and went on to major in business finance at the University of Notre Dame. He graduated from there in 1988, with top honors.

4. He's ambitious, and no stranger to good, old-fashioned elbow grease. After being initially rejected by both the publishing industry and law school post-college, Sparks tried his hand at a number of alternate careers, including real estate appraisal, waiting tables, telesales, and entrepreneurship. Translation: this ridiculously wealthy, wildly successful novelist is just like us! (Though we've still held more jobs than he has.)

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3. He could probably kick our butts. So much for the stereotypical writer, the one who hides behind his computer screen as his legs atrophy (or is that just us?). An avid runner, Sparks made his way to Notre Dame with a full track and field scholarship, and still exercises 90 minutes every day. He also has a black belt in tae kwon do. Muscles and a penchant for romance? We're sorry we ever doubted you.

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2. He's written 15 New York Times' bestsellers. Talk about prolific. Sparks began writing novels as a freshman in college. While his first two novels remain unpublished, the 15 that followed didn't do half bad. The Notebook, published in 1996, made it onto the bestseller list within a week of publication, and the next 14 did similarly well. In addition to the six already-existing film adaptations of his work—including Message in a Bottle and Nights in Rodanthe—he's also sold the screenplay adaptations for True Believer and At First Sight. What's next?

1. He's sexy. People magazine named him the "Sexiest Author Alive" in 2000. Those brown eyes, buff body and blindingly white smile make us…well…Let's just say Cathy's a lucky lady.

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