Summer by Karl Ove Knausgård

Disclaimer: I was given a free copy of this book to read prior to publication date. The copy I received was from the publisher and it is an uncorrected proof. I received no monetary compensation for this review.


I just finished Summer by Karl Ove Knausgård.  This is the 4th installment of his works of essays. His previous three books are entitled: Winter, Spring, and Autumn. All of these books were written for his youngest daughter. There are essays as well as diary entries for the months of June and July. The use of the 2nd person is him explaining various things to his toddler. But there is no baby babble, he is writing to her at two but she will not be able to grasp much of this until she’s much older.

I’ve only read Summer, and it is the longest of all 4 books, topping out at over a little over 400 pages. 

This book started with quite a few essays of interest, but then the diary entries started. I found this format confusing as I didn’t understand the reason for the switch. I think the book would have worked better in one of 3 other ways.

  1. All essays
  2. All diary entries
  3. Part I being all essays and Part II being all diary entries.

But this hybrid style didn’t work, as the essays were not solely about the season of summer or things that have occurred or generally occurs during summer.


with Karl Ove Knausgård at Strand Book Store in NYC. May 9, 2015 (c) Liz Kelso

Some of the essays at the end of the book were about etymology. I suppose we are more aware of insects and other crawling creatures during the summer months, but by the end of the book, I had lost interest in all he was writing about.

There was one diary entry that I enjoyed. It was about his prostate exam. The way at which he approached it was humorous, and it broke up a lot of monotony.

I’ve not read the other seasons, thought I see they received pretty good ratings, and they are much shorter. I may take a chance and read the others based solely on those ratings.  Because if it was based just on this book, I would not bother.  The concept is appreciated, I just think he tried to do too much with this volume.

I’ve read some of his My Struggle novels and enjoyed those. AND he’s a real nice fella, so he gets a pass…this time.


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Book Review – The Magic Mala

Picture2Here is the dilemma, a great message wrapped in less than average writing. This is the case with the latest book I’ve finished: The Magic Mala: A Story That Changes Lives by Bob Olson.

I thought the writing and dialogue were stilted. But I get it, he’s trying to get the message across and it is difficult to write something like this without using semi-formal dialogue.

I almost gave up, but then the message started to grab me, and I tolerated the writing. I stopped noticing it after a while.

The Magic Mala is a fiction book based on real life events of the author’s life. He finds a Mala in his home that once belonged to his father. The book progresses and we learn about this particular Mala, how his father used it and how the main character, Robbie uses it.

This books highlights metaphysical teachings that deal with setting intention, manifestation and other practices of this type. The reason I think the writing is stilted is because the author needs to explain the teachings. This is best done (and made most clear) in the way he used.

Now there is a lot of stuff that happens to the main character. It isn’t as cut and dry as finding the Mala, and learning how to use it. There is drama all around. I was very engaged in this story, and the message vibrated through my entire being.

Kudo’s to Mr. Olson for writing such an inspiring work.

According to his website: The Magic Mala may be turned into a movie.Picture1

While reading this book, I pulled out my own Mala beads. I meditate but hadn’t used my beads in over a year. I found the resurgence of them in my practice to be beneficial. I even used the mantra from the book, one I’ve heard of but never used myself.

Om shreem maha Lakshmiyei swaha . This is the best explanation of the mantra that I found. Namaha/Swaha have slightly different interpretations, but either can be used depending on your preference.

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The CNR Inaugural MFA Class 2018

My class was the first MFA class to graduate from The College of New Rochelle. A 2 year program that went full time. It was a hard road, but I did it in the time allotted to me. 

Current MFA student and journalist Tana Mfuni wrote an article showcasing the program and some of its first graduates. I am one of them. 


The lovely ladies of the inaugural class decked out in our regalia.

As you may notice the graduating class was 100% female. There were male students but they didn’t graduate with us for various reasons. However, the school itself is female dominate, so this isn’t that unusual.

Our class was a diverse one. We had homegrown women like myself, there were ladies from Mumbai, China, Pakistan, Austraila and New Mexico. For some this was their 2nd, 3rd, or 4th degree, while others, like myself, this was their first Masters.  

A few of these ladies even have published novels or poetry books. 

I will definitely miss my classmates. A talented bunch of nuts.  


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I’m a Paper Carrying ‘Artist’


Just a short post to announce that it finally happened.  After 2 years of no sleep (5 if you count the Bachelor’s), I can say that I have obtained my MFA in Creative Writing. The journey was hard but well worth it. I met a group of wildly talented individuals and fantastic people in the industry. 

Now that I can wave the paper around and claim vicotry, I need to find something to do with it. Never fear, the wheels are turning in my tiny head. Not sure where they will stop, but I know that I never will.


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Gregory Pardlo / Nicole Sealey

One of my recent articles for the CNR news website is up.  

You will also find the same article posted in our literary magazine The Canopy Review.

Here are some of the photos I took of these two fantastic poets. Read the article to learn how the evening went.

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MFA and Beyond

The Langston Hughes House

Me at the Langston Hughes House with his portrait and his typewriter.

The long pauses in my blog has to stop.  When you are MFAing there really is little time for much else.  Reading and doing and writing Thesis.  But that is all coming to an end. I graduate on May 22nd (my thesis is due early May). 

It has been an interesting educational ride.  Five years of almost non-stop schooling. It is coming to an end.  I’m both happy and sad. But I am excited. I’m moving on to bigger and better things in my writing future.  Don’t know what they are yet, but I know they are there.

Today I will be volunteering at The Langston Hughes House. Their program the I, Too Arts Collective has events, and it looks like this summer is packed with them.  Today author Willie Perdomo will be stopping by to give a talk.

On April 13th, poets Gregory Pardlo and Nicole Sealy will be reading their poetry. I know, I sound like a fan girl. Just so excited to have the opportunity to be around such talented people on a regular basis.

…and yes, the entries will become more frequent again.



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Poetry Reading 12/15/17 @ La Maison d’Art, NYC

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