Since publishing his breakthrough debut The Notebook back in 1996, every book Nicholas Sparks has written has been a bestseller – with more than 105 million copies sold in over 50 languages. As one of the world’s most celebrated storytellers, his work is known for devastating readers with tender tales of romance and heartache.

In a reading list for The Week, Sparks selected six of his favorite books that explore the power of family. From Harper Lee to Judy Blume, find his recommendations below.

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein (also rec’d by Ellen DeGeneres)
“Original and enchanting, this 2008 novel is narrated by the lovable Enzo — a Labrador retriever mix who sets out to help his owner while also learning about the marvels and peculiarities of human life. It is an inspiring story of family and love, written from the perspective of everyone’s favorite family member.” -NS

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (also rec’d by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Neil Patrick Harris & Shonda Rhimes)

“One of the most unforgettable novels of all time, To Kill a Mockingbird introduced the world to Atticus Finch and his precocious young daughter, Scout. Not only is this novel poignantly written, but it also offers important lessons on parenting, friendship, and morality.” -NS

Defending Jacob by William Landay

“A Massachusetts attorney finds his world upended when his 14-year-old son is accused of murdering a classmate. Defending Jacob is a devastating exploration of the relationships between fathers and sons, husbands and wives — and of the nature of evil. The ending will leave you stunned for days.” -NS

In the Country by Mia Alvar

“Alvar’s debut collection gathers nine thought-provoking, heartbreaking stories about various Filipino men and women who uproot the lives they’ve known in their native country and travel across the globe. Family is at the core of all the characters’ stories, and their experiences will resonate with everyone who has ever looked for a place to call home.” -NS

A Friend of the Family by Lauren Grodstein

“A doctor in turmoil anxiously watches his college-dropout son start a relationship with a woman who years earlier was acquitted of a horrifying crime. Grodstein’s novel about a family in crisis is so riveting, you’ll find yourself devouring each page.” -NS

In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume

“An engaging coming-of-age tale inspired by three deadly plane crashes in Blume’s New Jersey hometown, the 2015 novel follows three generations of families whose lives are forever changed by unexpected events. Tragedy brings the characters together, and love binds them for life.” -NS

(via The Week)

Categories: Writers