Posted: Tuesday, October 16, 2012, 9:02 am
Recommended if you like the humor of John Hodgman, Dave Eggers, McSweeney's or Amy Sedaris.
David Rees, a writer previously known for his vitriolic Bush-era cartoon, Get Your War On, has recently taken his career on a much different track.
He shuttered the comic franchise at the close of the second Bush term and has since reinvented himself as David Rees, artisanal pencil sharpener. The result is a bona fide artisanal pencil sharpening business (Artisanal Pencil Sharpening) and, just out this year, the accompanying manual, How to Sharpen Pencils.
Inspired by Audel's Shipfitter's Handy Book (Newstead, 1948), Rees adopts the earnest and pragmatic voice that's common across all "how-to" manuals. It's a loving pastiche that examines all aspects of pencils and pencil sharpening.
Rees stays in character throughout the book, playing the perfect straight man to his own absurdist tendencies. If the author's sincerity was ever in question, the forward by John Hodgman lays those concerns to rest by informing readers, "YOU WILL LEARN THE PROPER WAY TO SHARPEN A PENCIL." As if all this weren't enough, there's an appendix of "Pilgrimage Sites for the Pencil Enthusiast" that features the Paul A. Johnson Pencil Sharpener Museum in Logan, Ohio!