Staff Review: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

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One snowy day, Mia and her family went for a drive when the accident happened – and life would never be the same. Her parents were killed instantly, her younger brother went to one hospital while Mia was medivac-ed to a critical care unit in another hospital. While in a coma at the hospital, Mia is aware of what is going on around her – and she has a decision to make – should she let go and join her family or should she stay knowing she’ll be alone. As Mia contemplates her decision, she reminisces about happier times in her past and listens in as her extended family and friends talk to her and to the medical professionals who are taking care of her. Continue reading “Staff Review: If I Stay by Gayle Forman”

Contractual Obligation

Musical artists and their record labels have a long history of contention. Countless musicians have found themselves creatively and economically squeezed, anaconda-style, by the shackles placed on them by bad record deals and the boundless greed of the music industry. Of course the industry has always had the upper hand in these proceedings, holding artists hostage to their legally-bound recording contracts. This phenomenon has resulted in a plethora of albums created to break record deals or fulfill contractual obligations, allowing artists to put the mess behind them and move on to greener, more creatively-free pastures. These albums have ranged from the strange to the downright terrible. Who could forget Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Music, for example, with its layers upon layers of feedback and distortion that were about as calming as fingernails on a chalkboard, or Van Morrison recording an album with songs about ringworm and eating sandwiches. And then there was Marvin Gaye, who famously gave the finger to both his record company and his ex by fulfilling his contract with an album, Here, My Dear, that gave a blow-by-blow description of his marriage’s disintegration. Just as we instinctively stare at car wrecks on the interstate with morbid curiosity, the lure of these albums, with all of their blood and guts strung out for public display, is strong. Continue reading “Contractual Obligation”