Last night I began a column about the power of a Kindle Daily Deal on book sales, but assorted children needed attending to and I had to leave it. I realized as I was thinking about it though, that the end of the story isn't told yet--I want to see what kind of tail we get on it before discussing the results, so let's wait a week.
In the meantime, I had a long back and forth with my cousin Matt Resnick today. He posted on Facebook about having listened to "The Perfect Album" today, and asked what his Friends thought it was. A number of people weighed in--Rubber Soul, Aja, Beethoven's Ninth, Born to Run, Pet Sounds. And it got us into questions of perfection and what makes a perfect album. Is it production values (at which point you could make a case for Boston or Paul's Boutique) or an individual's opinion on genius of songwriting or concept or music (Freewheeling Bob Dylan, perhaps, or Dark Side of the Moon or Sinead O'Connor's The Lion and the Cobra, or the Smiths' Queen is Dead or Purple Rain or Bob Mould's Workbook or...you get the point.)
Of course, this is an impossible argument, as much as it's fun to do. I have perfect albums that the artists themselves don't even think is their best work (I like U2's War better than Joshua Tree, REM's Reckoning better than Out of Time, and I can listen to Terrapin Station or American Idiot for days and days). It also changes by genre--you can't compare Tannheuser to Rumours, really, or Candide to London Calling.
It's clear that you can do the same in books (and we do here all the time--how do you compare Pride & Prejudice to Moby Dick, or Wolf Hall to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo). Even within genres, a cozy is different from a police procedural (mostly) is different from a spy novel. Your idea of perfection might be The Corrections; your friend's could be Crime and Punishment or Harry Potter (but which one? Heh!) or Love in the Time of Cholera or Foucault's Pendulum or Easy Rawlings. But it's always a good time.
Oh, and Matt was listening to Kind of Blue. Hard to argue there...