I have to confess that, while perfect balance makes for excellent aesthetics, it doesn’t stimulate the mind as much as imperfection does. Literature, in particular, is probably one of the most difficult art forms to perfect, simply because (besides mastery and manipulation of the language itself) the best and most interesting subjects are imperfect. I’m talking, of course, of humans. We can’t deny our boundless curiosity about the condition of other humans if only to find out whether others share the same or similar lives. We want to know about their relationships, their childhood, their problems and insecurities, their jobs, their friends and family, their triumphs and weaknesses. We want to know how they deal with things, react to stimuli, behave in different situations. We want to know how they think, feel, eat, and sleep. We want to know how they take failure or celebrate victories. It’s not so much that we’re nosy, but that we have an innate need to connect with others and feel we belong to a community–a tribe if you will. Humans, after all, are social creatures and thrive in communities. The best way we can find our nurturing communities is by finding people we can relate to. The best way we can survive is knowing we are not alone, and knowing that other people experience whatever it is we go through. When we can’t find enough affirmation in the people around us, we look beyond our communities to see how we’re doing comparably. Many times, we can’t experience enough directly and that’s where literature comes in. Literature is probably the best art form that fills the void created in our lives by things we might otherwise never experience. I personally think it’s even better than watching movies or television because it provides details that the eye might miss while allowing our imaginations to interpret literary descriptions according to personal preferences and familiar models, rather than just witnessing someone else’s interpretation. That’s why I more often than not prefer a book over the movie version.