Review: Bookchair “just right” bookholder

You know you’re a word person when your books have more furniture than you do. Over the past few months I bought myself 2 “Bookchairs,” which have a semi-Goldilocks feel about them — I have a Medium one for paperbacks and a Large one for the computer books, but haven’t found a reason I would need the mini one.  They’re  book holders with pegs to keep your place, but they look like folding beach chairs that beat up Snoopy in Charlie Brown’s Thanksgiving. (Pardon the mixed similes.) These, however, are multicolored and nonviolent — they won’t even so much as collapse.

Note: charming wooden things that look like they were stolen from the Three Bears’ vacation or Charlie Brown’s garage are made better than a lot of the overpriced plastic crap they sell in medical catalogs. The Bookchair is made to be a single unit, with proper hinges so that you can easily fold and unfold it. When unfolded, the base of the chair has grooves to fit the support bar to create 3 different angles for the back. The pegs are more like arms, actually, screwed as to be horizontal on either side of the “seat.” Since the pegs are horizontal, you don’t have to worry so much about pulling the page around them, as you would with vertical pegs. I think they have a slight springiness in them, so that they can account for the way the pages sometimes bulge out. They fit against the pages tightly enough to hold them, but not so tightly that you can’t move the page when you need to.

Actually inserting the book is very easy — open the book to the desired page, lift it up by the top with one hand, and set it behind the pegs. If it’s a heavy book, of course, it takes me a couple of tries because my good hand is now not so good, but that’s not the chair’s fault. To turn a page, sometimes I don’t even need to adjust the right side peg — just move the page out from behind, and flick my thumb or finger to move the left side peg out of the way. Often, the left side peg will fall back into place by itself to hold the page. I don’t understand the Amazon review in which some guy complains that his wife — who, like me, is hemiplegic — can’t hold the device and turn the page at the same time. You don’t have to hold the device and turn the page at the same time. The most you need is good fine motor use of a finger or thumb on the same hand to flick a peg out of the way as you turn the page.

The only potential issue is the multi-size one, because you need to pay attention. (Why the heck did the people complaining about books not fitting order the Medium size for a hardcover math textbook?) If you mostly just read paperbacks, you should be fine with the medium size. If you read different types of books, however, you may need a larger size as well. I can’t see reading my C++ books on anything but a large Bookchair. The need for more than one might suck. However, if your large books aren’t quite so thick as that, the Standard size may be “just right” for both your paperbacks and your other books. I tried a couple book holders that seemed to be more universal, such as the Fellowes and Roberts, but they were multi-piece and rather flimsy and the pegs didn’t keep my place well enough, besides being vertical.

The Bookchair can be found on the Thinking Gifts website, though you might want to select US dollars from the drop-down so as to get the accurate price for you. You can pay with your PayPal account if you have one, which is also convenient. If you don’t want to wait for the UK shipping, you can often find them used on Amazon or eBay, where there’s a better chance that the seller might be closer (and cheaper).

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