As I have recultivated my reading life, I’ve found several reading gadgets that make reading easier and more enjoyable. Some of these things are super basic and some of them are a little extra but they are things that I’ve found helpful. If you’re primarily an ebook or audiobook reader then most of these suggestions apply to you, but maybe they would be a perfect gift for the book lover in your life!
I recently discovered book darts at the end of 2021 and immediately put them on my Christmas list. Book darts are essentially metal arrows that are thin and durable that allow you to pinpoint an exact piece of text down to the line. Some people use them just like you would a normal bookmark because it’s easier to mark your place on the page instead of just marking the page you’re on, others use them to mark important passages or quotes that they want to come back to and find easily later on.
I wish I had known about these when I was in high school and college because it would have been so much nicer than the hundreds of post-it flags I went through!
In my opinion, every reader needs a good set of Zebra Mildliners! They are essentially highlighters, but they’re not neon and the colors are so much more aesthetically pleasing. I love to have a good highlighter on hand when reading to easily annotate or mark down any quotes or passages that I particularly like.
Zebra Mildliners typically come in packs of five and are dual-ended with a chisel tip on one end and a bullet nib on the other end. They also don’t bleed through (in my experience) as badly as a typical highlighter does. Of course, this depends on the thickness of the pages in your book, but I usually don’t have a problem with bleeding or ghosting.
Now that you’ve thoroughly marked up your book with your brand new book darts and mildliners, you need somewhere to write down all the goodness that you got from that book! This is a fairly new addition to my reading tools, but I was inspired by Anne Bogel of Modern Mrs. Darcy and the What Should I Read Next podcast to keep a reading journal where I write down the books I’ve read, the genre they’re in, what I liked and disliked, quotes, etc.
This might feel like overkill, but if you’re struggling to figure out what kind of books are going to be a win for you then booking journaling is incredibly insightful. It helps you to look for commonalities between the things you like and things you don’t so that you are more equipped to go out and find your next five-star read. Not to mention, it’s just fun to look back and remember the things you read and why you loved them (or hated them) so much.
I admittedly always thought that these were stupid until I started reading books in bed again. When you’re reading a fairly thick book especially if it’s a hardback book the darn thing just doesn’t want to stay open and you end up doing all kinds of weird maneuvers trying to get it to comfortably stay open as you do your evening reading. I don’t know why this wasn’t a problem for me as a child reading in bed, but by golly, it is now and a page holder is so helpful. I need to go buy a new one because mine is currently lost in the abyss.
There are two styles of these that I’ve seen and I think each style has its own purpose. On one hand, you have the ones that fit on your thumb and hold the pages back for you as you hold your book (see picture below). Then there are also ones that do the same thing but are meant to hold your book flat as it sits on a table or desk. This kind is especially helpful for people doing a lot of research writing or studying. I wish I had had these in high school and college for my textbooks.
Last but certainly not least in the must-haves category is a book light! I currently use a book light that I have had since I was probably 11 or 12 years old and somehow it’s still kicking. It’s just a simple one that has a bendy arm and clamps to the back cover of your book. However, I’m pretty fascinated by a new reading light that my Facebook and Instagram recommendations are really trying to get me to buy.
It’s called the Night Owl 2.0 and instead of being a light that shines from above onto your page it’s a pane of clear plastic that sits on top of your page and shines light across your page allowing you to easily see the page but without creating the bright glow that might disturb a roommate or partner.
If those were the must-have items then these are the items that no one “needs” but by golly, I’m going to buy one anyway (or at least dream about buying one). If you have a bookish friend with a birthday coming up, one of these gadgets might be a winner or maybe you just want to treat yourself with a little gift. Take this as a sign to do so!
This little reading gadget is number one on my list for Christmas at the moment. If you don’t know what an embosser is, it’s basically a metal stamp that you use to brand your books and mark them as yours! You can get them customized on Etsy for about $30 bucks and they’re just so fun to me. I absolutely love the idea of declaring that each of my books belongs in my personal library! From a practical standpoint, it might also help you to determine if a book is yours or not if you’re someone who likes to lend out books to people.
Then of course there’s the classic e-reader! A lot of people have moved towards reading on their phones or an iPad, but I personally prefer a classic Kindle Paperwhite if I’m going to use an e-reader. In my opinion, it’s the best of both worlds because it looks much more like reading a physical book while still being much more portable than carrying a book around with you. Not to mention, if you’re someone who likes to read multiple things at once, a Kindle can hold hundreds of books at a time while your purse can probably only hold two.
When I was in college I listened to a ton of audiobooks for my classes. It was so much easier to get through the text using an audiobook and then go back and annotate the text. Now that I’m out of college, I’ve rediscovered my love for audiobooks which leads me to the last reading gadget: headphones. My headphones of choice are the Apple AirPods because it’s easy to connect seamlessly with my phone and my computer, but there are lots of great options out there that are less expensive. My husband prefers the Raycon Everyday Earbuds.
What are your must-have reading accessories? Are there any that I left out that you consider essential? I’d love to hear about what your reading process looks like!