Greetings from Ampersand-land!

Yesterday the Vancouver office had a potluck, and I provided dessert. I made a cheesecake (with a bit of
help from my partner Allison, who is an excellent baker). I made it out of DK Publishing’s “Get Started:
Baking” book. It was a pretty good fit for my non-existant baking skills. I cracked the top, but nobody
ever complained about a cracked top when they get delicious, free cheesecake.

cheesecake

-Mark

I have a serious problem. I want to read TOO MANY BOOKS.

to-read-pile

Just some of the books in one of my MANY to-read piles!

And then the choices are overwhelming and I spend most of my time trying to decide which book to read next.
And then I find I’m so tired that I end up
napping, and when I wake up and realize the desire to read is still itching at me, I repeat the horrid process
of staring at all the books on my shelves that demand to be picked up and read and I can’t decide!

Thankfully, I’ve come across this awesome book jar idea (thanks Pinterest!).

Source: alexinleeds.com

Source: alexinleeds.com

I’ve yet to try this system out, but I have to admit, I quite like the idea! So much so that I hope to do the same
and keep a jar full of folded pieces of paper with the title of a book in my to-read pile. Of course, I’m sure to cheat
sometimes and read new releases that I’m DYING to read – but for those days when I just can’t make up my mind,
this looks to be perfect!

- Vanessa

 

Well I’m back from my trip! I think I’ve decided that my true calling in life is to be a lady of leisure. If
you’re interested in investing in me, laying around on a beach, please get in touch!

Meanwhile, one of the books I’ve been meaning to read for eons finally got finished while I was away. The
Grail by Brian Doyle is about the pinot noir grape, and its success in Oregon. It’s a wonderful book, full
of short, funny chapters on the vagaries of grape growing and wine making. Highly recommend!

-Ali

I know spring has barely arrived here in Vancouver, let alone the rest of Canada, but my brain is speeding
towards fall.   The main reason for this is the stack of advance material that has landed on my desk.  It is
the beginning of the onslaught.  Overwhelming, definitely but also new books!  New stuff to read!!  That’s
like Christmas for me.   Please note the photo of the cute cat to the left of the stack.  That is Miki and I
thought it only fair to post cat pictures as we have posted dog photos previously.  Of course if I show one
cat, I have to show both so I am including a picture of Nigel from the last time I was heading to Toronto. 
Either he wants to come with me, or he doesn’t want me to go.  He hasn’t really said.    Until next time.       

Dot

The first of the onslaught.

The first of the onslaught.

Trying to pack for Toronto.

Trying to pack for Toronto.

Hi guys!

What Dot said is true. We are sometimes flooded with ampersands.

We have them on our couch.

photo 1

On our floor.

photo 2

Some of us took our name change as an opportunity to finger paint them on a Saturday night with a bottle
of wine.

photo 3

The point is that we love them. Here’s just ONE more reason why ampersands are so awesome: 
This Ampersand and That

- Tamara

I’m sure that everyone out there is getting very excited about the imminent arrival of Spring. In Vancouver 
we recently had some very beautiful weather followed immediately by the Deluge. That isn’t totally out of the ordinary however (LOL Vancouver am I right?),
because we here at Ampersand are in fact gearing up for Fall!

“Fall? In April?” you say. “But how can that be?”

Well, Fall hasn’t literally arrived, but our Fall 2014 Book season catalogues have begun to arrive!

BOXES

Yes, like leaves from the boughs of a great tree, our backroom has received it’s first gentle coating of exciting
new catalogues. And, like leaves in Fall, we’ll soon be so covered in catalogues that we’ll need a leafblower
just to get around the office.

It’s at this point that I would like to be able to say “thankfully Fall only comes once a year”, but that’s true
in name only; although we call our other seasons “Spring” and Winter,” they always bring a fresh dump of
catalogues!

-Mark

Growing up as a mixed kid, there weren’t a lot of characters I could relate to – characters who felt “other”.
Especially not in picture books. And more often than not, they didn’t really look like me.

Today, diversity in kidlit is a big topic. Recently, an op piece in the NYT talked about the issue of
representation in children’s books. So people are aware, which is definitely a good start. I know I, for one,
would love to see more diversity in books on all fronts – especially kid’s books.

That’s not to say there are still no books representing kids of colour. They exist – you just need to do a
little digging. For mixed kids like me, Second Story Press and Kids Can Press published picture books that
I really wish had existed when I was younger: Violet, and Spork.

Spork Violet

Violet is the story of a girl with a blue father and a red mother. In Spork, his mother is a spoon and his dad
is a fork – and he’s a little bit of both. And, of course, they’re about identity and belonging. I know these
books will be on my shelf when I have mixed kids of my own.

In fact, they might even be sitting on one of my shelves already, just for me. (What can I say… I’m a kid at 
heart!)

- Vanessa

Next week I will regale you with talk of the books I read (between beachside naps) while away on vacation
but for this week, I raise a Miami Vice in everyone’s honour!

-Ali

Do you ever notice that people connect you with quirky things?  If you had an odd name, they will comment
on the obvious ( if you’re called Shirley Holmes for instance).  Or, in my case, because I work for
Ampersand, if  they come across anything to do with an ampersand they will usually send it to me or
tell me about it.  I think before the company was called Ampersand that word wasn’t on the minds of
most of the people I know.  That said, I love ampersands and wanted to share a great one sent to me
last week.  Thanks for reading my first ever blog posting.   Dot

Ampersand Cheese and CrackersI am also posting a picture of the official dog in the Vancouver office.  Meet Eddie.

Eddie, the official dog of the Vancouver Ampersand Office

Our Vancouver office gets a lot of flak from our Toronto office for being a tropical paradise of balmy temperatures. However, this isn’t strictly true. The current temperature here is hovering around 9 degrees Celsius. LAST week, it actually was a balmy tropical paradise here, so I turned the heat off in my office for the season.

As usual, temperatures dropped somewhat and it’s a bit nippy here in the office today. I’m also chained to my desk, writing the Promo News. Since I can’t perform my usual cartwheels down the hall and the fire marshal told me I can’t burn coal, I’ve fallen back on the next best thing for warmth:

Mug2

A cup of steaming hot water. Sourced from a spring located in our kitchenette, it’s exceptionally nutritious and all-natural. Unlike tea or coffee, you won’t experience a caffeine crash later, and if it’s piping hot enough, you can almost fool your brain into thinking it’s caffeinated via a sort of Pavlovian response. I’m thinking about starting a bottling facility here. Maybe my first customer can be the Ampersand Toronto Office?  Eau du Livre anyone?

 

-Mark

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