The Leaning Pile of Books is a feature in which I highlight books I got over the last week that sound like they may be interesting—old or new, bought or received in the mail for review consideration. 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, along with series information and the publisher’s book description. Cover images are affiliate links to Amazon, and I earn from qualifying purchases.

There are no new reviews since last time due to a work project, health problems, house problems, and car problems, but you can see a brief overview of my 2022 book highlights so far on Twitter. (And you can read a review of one of them, Kaikeyi by Vaishnavi Patel, here.)

This week’s book sounds like a fun, magical read, and it has me very curious about “Undead Philosophy 101.”

Cover of Touchstones: A Collection by Stephanie Burgis

Touchstones: A Collection by Stephanie Burgis

Touchstones is a collection containing sixteen fantasy short stories by Stephanie Burgis, including two new ones. It will be released in ebook and paperback on July 11 (tomorrow!).

There is a page that includes links to read or sample some of these stories, as well as others, on the author’s website.


The glass molded to my foot as neatly—and as chillingly—as if it had been made for me.

“This,” I said, “is a most unfortunate coincidence…”

From tongue-in-cheek fairy tale reframings to forbidden Victorian-era romance and contemporary ghosts, dive into an immersive world of magic. Touchstones is a collection of sparkling short fantasy fiction from Stephanie Burgis, including two new stories as well as fourteen short stories and novelettes that have been previously published in magazines and anthologies.

This collection includes The Wrong Foot, Undead Philosophy 101, A Cup of Comfort, Dreaming Harry, Offerings, Dancing in the Dark, The Disastrous Début of Agatha Tremain, The Wildness Inside, The Art of Deception, Midnight, Clasp Hands, Crow, True Names, Good Neighbors, Love, Your Flatmate, and House of Secrets.