Family Traits: A Book Review of Section 130 by Katrinka Mannelly

Oh, hey there. It’s me! Remember me? Opinionated, unusually tall, pension for sharing things on the internet… yeah, now you remember.

So it’s been a hot minute since I was seated here, writing. It would take a major event or perhaps, a request, to tear me away from long summer nights. And yet, here I am because, guess what?!?

My cousin wrote a book!

I’m well acquainted with the massive undertaking it is to not only SAY, “I’m going to write a book,” but to FINISH that task, secure an agent, entice a publisher… it’s SO. MUCH. WORK. I couldn’t be more proud of my cousin, Katrinka Mannelly, and her new publication of a collection of short stories, Section 130.

Here’s a little bit about the book…

In the library of Katrinka Mannelly’s childhood, Dewey Decimal section 130 contained the supernatural—everything from witches to mermaids, gnomes to poltergeists. Like many children, I devoured these books, working my way through countless titles, studying magical creatures and imagining what encounters with them might be like.

As an adult she is still enamored with the inhabitants of section 130, but life has given her a more cynical view. What if interactions with mythical beings were mundane, or funny, or when special, extraordinary in the most unanticipated of ways?

This is the premise of Section 130, a collection of original short stories averaging 2,000 words in length. Each explores a modern human-supernatural being exchange. Sirens, fey, Sasquatch, Jinn, demons, ghosts, zombies, even tooth fairies in training, and lake monsters have truths to tell us about who we are as people.”

It was a delight to spend some time this past month reading Katrinka’s tales. A perfect dose of quick entertainment can be found in each story. The book was both surprising in its take on the supernatural, and well balanced—being funny, yet thoughtful.

My personal favorite was a ghost story take on a piece of family history I’ve grown up hearing from my father (Katrinka’s uncle). I found myself smiling ear-to-ear while reading. The Zombie tale of Zach and Xander made me laugh out loud, then had me raising an eyebrow at its subtle Aesop’s Fable-like ending.

Each story takes only a handful of minutes to read. This book is great for a single-session sit-down or taken in bits and pieces as you find time.

This summer I’ve been devouring everything from WWII novels to the newest self-help, and all the romance, historical fiction, biographies, and NYTBS in between. I can now add collection of short stories to that list too.

I encourage you to do the same!