What Is Your Favorite Novel? #AuthorInterview @JeriWB

Posted on June 17th, 2014 by & filed under #SPARKLE Tinsel Town Tonight Interviews, Everything Miz Meliz

Welcome to MizMeliz.com!

 I was asked this question recently in an interview by Jeri Walker-Bickett…

 It’s hard to pick just one, but what do you consider your favorite novel and why?

If you have read my book and blog, you might find this hard to believe – but I love crime drama and detective novels! I loved reading Tony Hillerman’s books about Joe Leaphorn set in the Southwest where my mother’s family was from. My husband and I loved reading and discussing Dan Brown’s books and the mystery-adventures of Robert Langdon.

My favorite novel is The Godfather written by Mario Puzo. I was inspired by his screenplay adaptation, his infusion of the real-life stories of the five mob families, and the attention to detail and continuity throughout the novel with the various characters and their back stories. Much like the book I loved as a child by Louisa May Alcott, the influence of generations of families and how they shape our lives has always intrigued me. This transfers to my own writing as I am always thinking of the influence my parents and grandparents had on me, and how that will affect my own children and grandchildren someday.

Read more of the interview posted on JeriWB.com HERE.

Allow me to present to you a blog post I called, “Transformation,” which was originally published on MizMeliz.com on January 6, 2012.

(This is also an excerpt from the book, This is the Sound of My Soul, A Transformational Journey,  by Melissa Reyes.)

“I feel as though I have landed firmly on the ground

after swinging on monkey bars all of my life.”

~Melissa Reyes, June 17, 2014


I was looking through my journals because I am so excited that I have started writing again, that I wanted to take pen to paper.  (Remember paper?)  I flipped through some of the poetry that I wrote and I can’t believe it’s been ten years since I wrote regularly.  Ten years! So much has happened since then.  I have been inspired lately by some of my friends who blog, and the challenges and prompts are all about finding oneself and improving.  I am more about embracing, exploring and experiencing right now.  I realize that I have been through quite a transformation in my life in the past decade.  In 2002 I was struggling.  Writing helped.  Reading over what I wrote helps a lot.  One of the journals that I wrote back then I called “I Love My Life.”  I was just learning about acceptance and loving the moment.

If I imagine myself on a threshold of new possibilities, I consider that there is much more to learn and so much more to experience. I read Patti Digh’s article on Liminal Spaces and began to think of how I really enjoy the space that I am in at the moment.  A liminial space is that space in-between, “not the here or the there, but the not here and not there.” Digh calls this the transition zone.  It’s the moment of release before a trapeze artist would catch the new bar.  Like swinging on monkey bars, you must let go and swing to the next one.  It is the exhilarating moment that you are in the air.  And I feel as though I am weightless, flying through life right now.

Digh describes this space as the moment that there is nothing to hold on to.  It is the moment when we are flying that the real changes occur.  It is when we are “the most present, most alive, most vulnerable, most human.”  She suggests that we “cross the threshold, enjoy the space between and fly.”

I am ready for this!  After I turned forty and both my parents and, more recently, my sister passed away, I felt like I was at a point that I could express my thoughts and feelings openly.  I was not as concerned with what others thought of me anymore.  I was less likely to seek approval.  I am the mom now.  I developed into a person that I liked.  When some of my friends were going through divorce or major career and life changes, I was at a strong point in my marriage and in my life.  Healthy and active, financially stable (for the most part) and generally happy and satisfied.  I am grateful for this.  I am especially grateful after reading through my journals because it reminded me that it did not come easily.

The monkey bar that was so difficult to let go of was the feeling that I needed to make something of myself.  I wanted so desperately to be something. I felt as though I should have a degree, or advance in my career, or make a difference in some way.  I thought that I needed to honor my parents’ hopes and dreams for me and please them by becoming a successful professional of some type.  My family situation was somewhat unique in that my siblings were teenagers when I was born, so pleasing my brother and sister was also a goal I had.  My sister was (I can admit this now) like a mother to me.  She and my brother led the way for me, inspired me and watched over me like parents.  I only realized how much my parents loved me unconditionally when I had my own children.  I know the love that my brother and sister felt for me because I feel it towards my nieces and nephews. Once they started to grow up I began to exert expectations on them – out of love.  Putting expectations on myself was, as Digh puts it, “the illusion we put up to avoid where the real change occurs.”

This explains why I am so much happier now.  I am free.  I am flying!  I have released that bar and I am stretching forward to the next one.  I know in my heart that my parents are proud of me for the person I have become.  More importantly, I am proud of myself!


To laugh often and love much;

to win respect of intelligent persons

and the affection of children,

to learn the appreciation of honest critics;

To appreciate beauty;

to give of oneself,

to leave the world a bit better,

whether by a healthy child,

a garden patch

or a redeemed social condition;

To have played and laughed

with enthusiasm

and sung with exultation;

To know even one life has breathed easier

because you have lived –

That is to have succeeded.


— Ralph Waldo Emerson

So tell me, what do you consider your favorite novel, and why?

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8 responses to “What Is Your Favorite Novel? #AuthorInterview @JeriWB”

  1. Carolyn Taylor says:

    _The Art of Racing I’m the Rain_
    This book is very philosophical, and also told from the point of view of a dog. This book is well loved by lots of book club readers too.
    You don’t have to have any interest in racing to love this book.

    • mizmeliz says:

      That sounds really interesting! I wrote a short story once from the point of view of a cat. One of my favorite stories when I was a child was about an abused dog from his point of view. It’s so interesting to me how we are affected by those early impressions.

  2. Mary says:

    I am on the press list to see him this year, fingers crossed! Hes so talented:)

  3. Jeri says:

    Thanks again for the lovely interview. My favorite novel is John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath. I like how he tackles big issues through specific characters. Love your excerpt as well. I so well remember the feeling of when I decided I didn’t care that people thought of me anymore and I just let that draft rip!

  4. Mary says:

    I love so many, but one that always left me breathless was Steve Martin’s (Yep, THAT Steve Martin!) first novel, Shop Girl. When I read it, I was also working as a “Shop Girl” & that character & what she was going through in her life hit so close to home for me. It was one of those books I had to put down at certain scenes. It was made into a good movie, but nowhere near the justice of the book.

    & I had no idea you love crime novels, I can see that!:) xoxo

    • mizmeliz says:

      Yup! I love crime dramas. I just finished the 1st season of Dexter on Netflix. It’s dark, but compelling. I liked Shop Girl, too. I saw the movie. I will put the book on my list. I love Steve Martin! He is brilliant. We saw him at the Hollywood Bowl last summer, playing the banjo.

  5. Tim says:

    My favorite books have always revolved around history and in particular Asian history and the colonialism that took place there. So my favorite is Burmese Days by George Orwell. He had my imagination reeling as he set about describing the political, social, and topographical environment of the time. It struck a chord with me as my mother had lived as a child during this time and was located in SE Asia for 25 years.

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