Nicholas Sparks on How ‘The Notebook’ Is Basically Like Shakespeare

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Susan Jane Belton's Greek Side (2007). Photo: Getty Images

Nicholas Sparks, author of best-selling weepy love stories like The Notebook, does not write romance, he’ll have you know. "I write a dramatic epic love story, I write modern-day Greek tragedies, and there’s a big difference between that and romance,” he said at the premiere of Nights in Rodanthe, the new movie based on yet another of his novels about — you’ll never guess — tragic lovers. "You have romance novels, and then you have what I do, more along the lines of love stories like Eric Segal’s Love Story or The Bridges of Madison County, and those are both male writers," Sparks told us. That sounds like a reasonable comparison. "But you can even go all the way back," he continued. “You had Hemingway write A Farewell to Arms, the movies of the forties — Casablanca, From Here to Eternity — Shakespeare, and that’s the genre I work in,” he explained. Put into perspective, is there any doubt that Shane West and Mandy Moore are the Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman of their generation?