When the Institute’s crack research team first found volume 17 of the Practical Encyclopedia, I was delighted: a glimpse into a lost work of titanic proportions. It was like finding a scroll from the fabled Library of Alexandria. When researchers started finding volumes all over the place estate sales, thrift stores - I begged them to stop, lest I spend the entire year scanning 25 volumes. So far we have half a dozen books, and we can say with assurance that they are comprehensive: they cover refinancing, fireplace construction, paper mache, basket weaving, retaining wall construction, macrame, and Lord knows what else.

While the Encyclopedia lacks the brazen uglyness of the BHG Bible, it has its own charmless charm. As you’ll see.