The Leaning Pile of Books is a feature where I talk about books I got over the last week – old or new, bought or received for review. Since I hope you will find new books you’re interested in reading in these posts, I try to be as informative as possible. If I can find them, links to excerpts, author’s websites, and places where you can find more information on the book are included.

This week brought four surprise books – two ARCs and two finished copies of books that showed up as ARCs earlier. One of these ARCs has me very excited!

Since I already talked about the two finished copies, I’m not going to go over them in detail again. If you’re curious about either of them, here are the links to read more:

Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone (Release Date: October 2)

Tomorrow the Killing by Daniel Polansky (UK Release Date: October 11)

On to the new books!

Wonders of the Invisible World by Patricia A. McKillip

Wonders of the Invisible World by Patricia A. McKillip

This is a short story collection of previously published stories by World Fantasy Award winner Patricia A. McKillip. It also contains an introduction by Charles de Lint and “What Inspires Me” (Patricia McKillip’s Guest of Honor speech from Wiscon 2004). My ARC says it will be available in trade paperback in November, but you may be able to get it earlier. Amazon says it will be available on October 1 and Barnes and Noble seems to have it now. The table of contents and a sample can be read on Amazon.

When this showed up, I was curious since I’ve been interested in reading the work of Patricia McKillip, but I didn’t really think I’d end up reading it since short story collections often don’t manage to hold my interest for very long. On Friday night, I picked it up to see what the beginning looked like. Charles de Lint’s introduction was so heartfelt it made me want to read everything Patricia McKillip had ever written. Still, it was short stories, which often sound good to me in theory but don’t manage to keep me reading. I’d probably end up starting with a novel since she’s written quite a few of them, but I would read a page or two just to see what her writing style was like.

I read a little bit of the first short story.. and then the whole thing… and then the next story… I’ve now read about 100 pages in this book and just LOVE her writing. This is one short story collection I’ll be reading in its entirety, and I’ve also been adding more of her books to my wishlist. Any suggestions for which book should be my second experience with her writing?

Stylistically rooted in fairy tale and mythology, imperceptible landscapes are explored in these opulent stories from a beloved fantasy icon. There are princesses dancing with dead suitors, a knight in love with an official of exotic lineage, and fortune’s fool stealing into the present instead of the future. In one mesmerizing tale, a time-traveling angel is forbidden to intervene in Cotton Mather’s religious ravings, while another narrative finds a wizard seduced in his youth by the Faerie Queen and returning the treasure that is rightfully hers. Bewitching, bittersweet, and deeply intoxicating, this collection draws elements from the fables of history and re-creates them in startlingly magical ways.

Luck of the Draw by Piers Anthony

Luck of the Draw (Xanth #36) by Piers Anthony

The latest book in the long-running Xanth series will be released in hardcover and ebook on December 24. (I haven’t read any of the books in the series so I don’t have much to add, especially since it’s a bit early for excerpts to be out there.)

Bryce is summoned to Xanth as part of a wager between the Demons Earth and Xanth. To his surprise, he has left behind his home and family and eighty-year-old body forever, in exchange for youth and magic….and a quest. He must court and marry Princess Harmony, who is anything but willing to be courted!

Luck of the Draw is Anthony’s thirty-sixth pun-filled adventure in the magical land of Xanth.