* "The Pirate Loop" earns a second mention because it has real warmth - the party piece at the finish is wonderful. But my fickle fanboy gaze has now turned towards "Abarat Book Two: Days Of Magic, Nights Of War" (2004), written and with copious paintings by Clive Barker. It's alien, it's scary-beautiful, it's classic CB.
* You'll go crackers for new Paradise Veri Deli Double Cheese & Leek crackers. If you're a parrot.
* Socceroos 4 - Qatar 0.
An exercise for the reader
When a book's contents lists chapter headings, do you... (a) read them slowly and guess at their meanings? (b) skim through, picking out key words/phrases? (c) page past the potential spoilers to chapter one? Take a minute to analyse your choice.