Two days ago Alex and I went to the Performing Arts Library up on 65th in Lincoln Center to copy music. (Alex finally went to the DMV and got his NY driver's license, so he was able to get a library card! Library cards are pretty much the best things ever, so I am entirely thrilled on his behalf.) We brought along our change purses, as we both have lots and lots of change and have been trying to get rid of it (so far, the only thing it gets used for is doughnuts every few weeks, which are delicious but which do not use up the change, which continues to accumulate! [this change does not include quarters, by the way; we can never have enough quarters, as the laundromat takes only quarters and 12 of them per wash/dry load]). We used only change at the copy machines, so that we did not actually spend any money (I, for one, always round up my expenses to the dollar, so any leftover change is pretty much free money! I think Alex does the same thing). This made the copies 20 cents (why is there no cents sign on the keyboard? what a sad lack) instead of 15¢ (isn't that exciting? I copy-pasted it from the wikipedia article on cents!), and we did not make a tremendous many, but that is ok. It was really just an initial, investigative foray. We browsed the sheet music shelves, and Alex found three new songs he thinks will work for him and copied them; I found "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" by the Proclaimers and copied that, which pretty much made my day. Next time, instead of browsing shelves filled with musical theatre, pop, rock, classical, and everything else and hoping to find something good, we'll do more research at home first on the internet and then go request songs at the Song Index, which is where they bring it out to you and you get it for an hour or so and bring it back after you copy it.
So anyway, we had fun with all that, and then it was so beautiful out that we bought some $2 hot dogs (sometimes Alex is not willing to pay $2, and says to the hot dog guy, "I want a hot dog, but I'll only pay you $1 for it," and then sometimes he gets a $1 hot dog. I could never do that. I am too shy and nervous and it would show. Alternatively, though, the other day a hot dog guy told him it was $2 and then after handing him the hot dog insisted that it was $3, which is ridiculous, and eventually Alex paid the $3, which I would not have done. I would have given him the hot dog back and not paid at all, or I would have given him $2 and left. Nobody should pay $3 for a hot dog) and went out to Central Park, which was just a long block and a half away to the east, and found a not-too-crowded spot on a rock in the sun and read Howl's Moving Castle out loud to each other! This is happening because both Andy B. and I have told Alex to read it, because it is a great book, but he tried once before and thought it was dull, so the other day I just picked it up and started reading it out loud, and it is working! He no longer thinks it is dull. Which is good, because it is not. Everybody should read Howl's Moving Castle.
I think that might be the way of Diana Wynne Jones, though. Some of her books seem dull at the beginning, and the plot seems uninteresting, even though it's not. And that happens with different of her books for different people. It took me forever to even start reading Dark Lord of Derkholm, because even though many people fervently recommended it to me, it just seemed too boring for words. And then of course it was clever and funny and entirely entertaining! I had the same experience with Castle in the Air, the sequel to Howl's Moving Castle, even though I had already loved HMC! And I know people who couldn't get into the Chrestomanci books at all, even though I adored them and even though they liked her other books.
The other thing about Diana Wynne Jones, of course, is how the plot is full of mysteries full of mysteries full of mysteries until the-last-three-pages-when-everything-is-revealed-in-an-incredibly-confusing-flurry-of-complicated-revelation-slash-resolution, which is exciting but can be perplexing. HMC took me two tries before I understood what was going on at the end.
But they are all worth it! I guess the moral of this post, which started out as a post about my life this week, is this: Read Diana Wynne Jones!