Riot Headline 10 Exciting Books to Read this Summer

Nicholas Sparks: Thou Art My Nemesis

This content contains affiliate links. When you buy through these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Michelle Anne Schingler, a former librarian and Hebrew school teacher, is the managing editor at Foreword Reviews. Her days are books, books, books; she knows how lucky that makes her.  Twitter: @mschingler

Dear Sir:

It’s a big week for you, I see. With the release of See Meyou’ll be but a book away from twenty published. That’s not nothing.

You’ll also be adding your first love interest of color to your pantheon of romantic heroines, which, you know: congratulations. Readers taking in your covers still risk being blinded by the sheer whiteness of your protagonists, but at least now there’s a Latina to break the monotony.

I’d send you flowers, or an edible arrangement, or something very Carolinas to mark the moment, I really would. Would, except: I absolutely loathe you.

Lots and lots of white people almost kissing.


It doesn’t seem fair, does it, for a stranger to send you such a caustic greeting? I know. I’d be ashamed, I really would. Would: except that’s not how nemeses roll. And sir, I am your nemesis. (Hi, it’s nice to meet you! Want to grab coffee sometime? My trea

We started out on friendlier terms, you and I, back when I was thirteen and The Notebook seemed to be the most romantic story maybe ever. I love waylaid love letters, and  If you were a bird, I–well, I wasn’t signing up for wings or anything, but I did let Noah and Allie make me cry. Once. Five tears, tops. We’d have been okay, you and I, had we crossed just that once in the night.

Alas!: a friend lent me A Walk to Remember, and love like meh turned to loathing. You let your prose go purple, sir, and thereafter any tears that did come seemed cheaply won. Your plot points began to bounce into incredible territory: your married teenagers, your flash floods, your ratcheted-up tensions and easy declarations.

In a normal reader/writer relationship, this would, at most, be cause for a parting of ways. You start to frustrate me, I stop reading you. Not every book is for every reader, right? Fair. And I’d leave it there, I would. Would: except you went and suggested that you’re Shakespeare reincarnate.

In fair Verona where we lay our scene It’s that hubris which threw you into nemesis territory, and there you rest. Concede the point that this is clearly your faul

It has come to this: I read your tweets and resent how often you quote yourself. I hear that you’re being accused of discrimination and I let myself presume that it’s true, which is not at all nice or reasonable. I shed no tears over the turmoil in your personal life, which really I should apologize for, because I’m sure it’s been difficult. I sneak digs at you into my blog posts. I sneer at you from below the streets of Gotham, I imagine ways I might steal your Spidey-senses, I…[other nemesis things]. (This is not my genre.)

(This is not good nemesis form, but: I’ve gone and accused you of purple prose, so, in the name of equanimity, yes, this whole piece is tinged with green. We both see it. Your nineteenth release comes just ahead of NanNoWriMo; I have scrapped several first drafts, and often for offenses of the most purple variety.

You’re going to be on a book tour, gathering in generous doses of adulation, while I sit in my room, making mustaches with my hair, screaming into pillows, Googling cat videos, and killing my darlings with dictatorial efficiency. You churn out one a year, right? You suck.) If you’ll have me as your nemesis You suck, I maintain, but in this show-down, you’ve won all of the battles thus far, carving out that mammoth career for yourself. If I were a little kinder, I could applaud that.

I’m not in a kind mood, though. I’d rather thumb my nose at you from across a very big, very crowded room of fellow writers. I’m not even going to admit to watching your movies, and I certainly will not confess that they still sometimes make my bottom lip tremble.

I’m going to tip my hand a bit–a spiteful “treat” for your release. Nemesis, phase one: I came up with this phenomenal, vengeful, petty scheme for enjoying your work hate-watching your movies. I pay for a different film. I sneak into yours. It’s perfectly Machiavellian, don’t you think? Take that, sir.

You called Cormac McCarthy “pulpy and overwrought”–seriously, Ghost-wife? You brought this on yourself. I saw that heart transplant thing coming, you know. From miles. So no. No dimes of mine. I will Robin-Hood you on Hemingway and Cicero’s behalf.

That’s right: I see you, bro. Tremble before my scary gauntlet. (Please?)