This post on reading backlist books is sponsored by Flatiron Books, Publisher of American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins.
También de este lado hay sueños. On this side too, there are dreams. Lydia Quixano Pérez runs a bookstore in the Mexican city of Acapulco. She has a son, Luca, and by and large, they live a fairly comfortable life. But when Lydia’s wonderful journalist husband publishes a tell-all profile of Javier, the jefe of the newest drug cartel, Lydia and eight-year-old Luca are forced to flee. None of their lives will ever be the same as they join the countless people trying to reach el norte. Everyone is running from something. But what exactly are they running to?
Multitasking seems to be an ever-increasing necessity in our lives. While it can be a challenge to get your brain to read and do something else at the same time, it doesn’t hurt to know there are tools for hands-free reading out there so you can still eat, knit, or whatever else you like to do while reading. Some of these are also great devices for folks who have trouble holding a book open for long periods of time. Hands-free reading tools come in so many shapes and sizes. The list below is just a starting point, so if you don’t find a design of a particular set-up you like, hunt around a bit more and you’ll find the perfect fit.
A caveat: while these are considered hands-free reading tools, you’ll still need a way to turn the pages, whether this means using your hands or an assistive device. If anyone finds a robot that can do this for me, hit me up.
14 Hands-Free Reading Tools
Book brackets are a great, inexpensive way to hold books open. Whether you’re hoping to do some hands-free reading while you eat breakfast or you need something to keep the cookbook open while you refer to the recipe, book brackets can help. These aren’t heavy-duty pieces and, while expandable, are not one-size-fits-all, but they’re fairly versatile and lightweight enough to carry with you on the go. Once the book bracket holds your book open, you can easily slide the paper out from and back under the arms of the holder to turn the page.
Sure, these are advertised as music book clips, but who’s to say you can’t use them on your novels and memoirs? Music book clips work best on thinner volumes, but are a subtle and classy way to hold your book open while you sip your mimosa and listen to Mozart. These are black, but you can also get fancier ones made of different material if you want to splurge.
With a design similar to the music book clip, the booktopus is more whimsical. I mean, who doesn’t want a cute blue octopus gazing at them lovingly as they read about a grizzly murder in the latest true crime book? Frankly, the booktopus would make a great gift. Its smaller size makes it a little more style than function, but if you’ve got a book with a spine that’s been decently broken in and isn’t enormous in its page count, you should be in good shape with your new friend.
For friends of felines, this page holder is purrrr-fect. (I’ll show myself out.) Another take on the classic music book clip, it’s halfway between serious and whimsical, and subtle enough to get away with in public. (No shame to my public octopus readers, of course. I am in awe of your self-confidence.) The ribbon on the clip is a nice touch, too.
When these were first advertised to me on Instagram, I was smitten. These gorgeous clips are a nice, unobtrusive way to hold your book open while you use your free hand to pet your goldfish (or whatever you do with your hands when you’re reading). These particular designs include an engraving of the words “wisdom anchor,” but you can also find plain ones. They tend to be available in different colors—most commonly gold, rose gold, and silver—and make a great addition to your Bookstagram.
The FlipKlip is primarily advertised as being useful for when you’re on the treadmill, but there’s no reason you couldn’t also employ the clip on the dining table while you enjoy some milk and cookies. With added bulk behind the power the spring, the lightweight clip makes even more substantial books stay open. Like the book bracket, the reader can easily slide a page from one side to the other under the clip’s arms. Plus, its small size makes it extra portable.
For readers who like to add a little glitz to their pages, the Page Partner comes in designs that lean metallic as well as some more understated options. This large clip-like device holds your book open at the top or bottom with its simple structure. Personalized printed messages are also possible with Page Partner.
Book bones are a bit sturdier than book brackets, but this also means they’re heavier. Made of a flexible rubber that reminds me of when Gilderoy Lockhart removes the bones in Harry’s arm in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, the floppy book bone is great for reading outdoors. With the book bone, you don’t have to worry too much about your pages fluttering in the wind.
If you’re feeling a little fancier, you might consider a leather weighted bookmark. You might also find the texture of the leather to be soothing to run your finger along as you read. Like the book bones, these bookmarks are weighted on either side. Their thinner design means you could theoretically use it as a true bookmark, however, which ups its usefulness a little bit.
BestBookStand comes in a few sizes and materials and is adjustable, making it easy to position your book for the most comfortable reading angle for you. It’s substantial enough that you don’t have to worry too much about breaking it and, for what it is, is decently portable with a fold-up design.
If you need something a little less bulky, the Adjustable Book Stand has a more compact design. The legs on the stand also allow the user to position the stand over their legs while sitting or in bed as well as, of course, standing it on a table. Reviewers mention how easy the stand is to setup and that it’s portable.
As useful as the book stands above are, you might be looking for something a little more hashtag-aesthetic for those Bookstagram shoots of your book stand. That’s where the bamboo book stand comes in. This minimalist design is easy to fold up and take on the go or leave at home to protect the wood finish. The bamboo book stand has an adjustable angle, whether you need it in the kitchen or while relaxing.
For readers who need stands that are really extra, the Tripar Swirl Design Metal Cookbook Stand is your answer. Though not quite as functional as some of the other options on the list (this would be harder to transport, for sure), this beautiful book stand would look stunning in any environment. Included in the design are weighted balls on chains to hold pages in place, meaning you can keep hands-free while you enjoy your book without worry the pages will turn before you’re ready.
On the opposite end of the spectrum from the more ornate Tripar Swirl Design is this hyper-minimalist wire book holder. The adjustable arms mean you can put books of various sizes in the stand, whether you’re holding up a sturdy cookbook or a trade paperback. Relatively compact, the Book Holder could be made portable in a pinch.
This is just the beginning of hands-free reading tools. While the lists cover the main design concepts, there are lots of styles out there, meaning readers can find the perfect fit for their home and lifestyle. Find more cool book gadgets at this list of the best book holders.
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