Electric lighting has been an enormous boon to readers. Before its advent, reading after dark meant squinting in the flickering light thrown off by a candle or lantern. Not only was this obnoxious as all hell, it both used up often limited resources and risked damage to home (fire!) and body (overuse-induced pseudomyopia!). Together, electricity and lightbulbs made it possible to read after dark with comfort and ease. Add batteries, and suddenly one of the most iconic nighttime reading experiences becomes possible:
That might be enough to make any lamp officially bookish, but there are ways you can make your lighting fixtures even more literary.
Lamp In a Box for example, offers inexpensive designs that run the bookish gamut, from Shakespeare to Captain America:
But there are more inventive options, too, made from actual books. Like these amazing, sculptural lamps:
If you want some encouragement to read more at night (because you’ll never sleep again), you could put this wonderfully creepy Edgar Allan Poe lamp at your bedside. Check out that skull!
One-and-a-half billion people around the world still light their nights with kerosene, raising risks of injury and making it difficult to read or do schoolwork. So if you’re thinking of buying a bookish lamp for yourself, consider also making a donation to a group like Deciwatt, which has designed a low-cost, gravity-powered lamp that they’re distributing in Africa and India:
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