Book Review: “How to Sharpen Pencils,” by David Rees : The New Yorker
ATTN: Inventory magazine. No less comical than artisanal axes.
For the past three years or so (ever since he quit doing “Get Your War On,” his viciously funny satirical cartoon strip about the war on terror), Rees has been running a small pencil-sharpening business out of his home in Beacon, New York. Clients send him fifteen dollars and a blunt pencil, which he then sharpens by hand before sending it back to them complete with bagged shavings and a signed certificate of sharpening. (If fifteen dollars a pop seems a little steep, here’s how Rees explained his prices in an interview with Details magazine: “I’m sure there’s somebody in India who could sharpen your pencil for $8, but if you want authentic American craftsmanship … that’s how much quality costs these days.”)