“The book is powerfully funny … a stylistic high-wire act, and Rees never teeters.” —The New Yorker
**SHORTLISTED FOR THE DIAGRAM PRIZE FOR ODDEST TITLE OF 2012**
Have you got the right kind of point on your pencil? Do you know how to achieve the perfect point for the kind of work you need out of that pencil?
Deep in New York’s Hudson River Valley, craftsman David Rees—the world’s number one #2 pencil sharpener—still practices the age-old art of manual pencil sharpening. In 2010, he began offering his artisanal service to the world, to the jubilation of artists, writers, draftsmen, and standardized test takers.
Now, in a book that is both a manifesto and a fully-illustrated walk-through of the many, many, many ways to sharpen a pencil, he reveals the secrets of his craft. By the time you’re through this book, you will know how to get the perfect point on your pencil without injuring yourself. And if you think it’s a joke, why don’t you poke yourself with your newly sharpened pencil? Or better yet, don’t—because it’ll really hurt.
DAVID REES first came to fame as the author of Get Your War On, a Bush-era comic strip composed from clip-art that he emailed to friends. It was eventually serialized by Rolling Stone magazine, collected into three successful books, and turned into an off-Broadway play. He is also the author of the workplace satire My New Filing Technique is Unstoppable. He lives in Beacon, New York.
JOHN HODGMAN (introduction) is the author of the bestsellers The Areas of My Expertise, and More Information Than You Require. He’s also known for his appearances in Apple’s “Get a Mac” advertising campaign, and for his correspondent work on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.
“Dear Reader is plunged into delicious confusion … gloriously irreverent.” —The New York Times Book Review
“From his vantage-point atop Mount Obsessive, Rees is able to see far and wide, and the picture he paints there is both true and very, very funny.” —Boing Boing
“This is the best treatise on pencil sharpening (in a sea of none)” and diabolically funny. I’ve already alerted the Pulitzer committee.” —Library Journal
“There is a long chapter on how to sneak into someone’s house and smash their electric pencil sharpener with a mallet.” —Business Week
“This book is really a must-read for anyone interested in pencils. And there are well-placed lines likely to render you, as I was, doubled over in laughter. But what I enjoyed most about Mr. Rees’ book was reading something written with such sincerity by a person who obviously does what he does with care.” —Pencil Revolution
“The hand-sharpened pencils sent to me by artisanal pencil sharpener David Rees are without a doubt the MOST EFFICIENT writing instruments in my collection. I use them both for business and for pleasure, as their SLEEK and ELEGANT design coupled with their AMAZING SHARPNESS help make me an object of envy at work and about town. My favorite use for a David Rees hand-sharpened pencil? Sending threatening letters to strangers whose names I pick out of a phone book.” —MATT TAIBBI
“Of all the great artisanal crafts, hat blocking, cobbling, and trolloping, I think I was most disheartened to see pencil sharpening relegated to the dusty bin of history. That is why I am so thrilled David Rees is picking up the reins of the forgotten art of manual graphite-encased-in-wood point-crafting. I love my pencil!” —AMY SEDARIS
“You may think that sharpening a pencil is easy, but David Rees makes it look hard, and that makes all the difference.” —JOHN HODGMAN
“Looking back, I cannot believe that I spent so many years of my life mechanically sharpening my own pencils with pencil sharpeners. Truly, my life before I was presented with correctly sharpened pencils by an artisan was a dull and ill-sharpened void. Learn from my mistakes.” —NEIL GAIMAN
“A good friend was thoughtful enough to send me the gift of a David Rees artisinally sharpened pencil. I was blown away when I saw it. My wife and I proudly display it in our home. I have always been a pen man, but if you’ve got to have a pencil in the house, this is the pencil to have.” — PAUL F. TOMPKINS
“>“David Rees carved away the wood that hides the graphite the way I need to carve away the fat the hides my ability to wear a bathing suit. Thank you for showing me the path, Rees.” —PATTON OSWALT
“Could I sharpen my own pencils? Sure, I could! I could also perform my own dentistry, cobble my own shoes and smith my own tin — but why not leave such matters to real artisans, instead? I trust my bespoke pencils only to David Rees.” —ELIZABETH GILBERT