Less than a year ago, with a half century looming not far ahead of me, I mentioned to a piano-instructor friend of mine that I wished I had studied piano as a child because I'd always wanted to play Ragtime. His response, of course, was why not start now. With weekly lessons and a lot of practice, I'm at last starting to achieve that aim. The arrangements in the "Joy of Ragtime" are accessible enough for the beginner, but complex enough to make the music fun, challanging, and interesting. Too often piano music for beginners is vapid and banal. The "Joy of" series lets you play real music while still learning the instrument.