Well, this is a new one for me. I'm not reviewing a book or a movie, but a gadget.

Bookhugger makes reading books a bit easier. It looks like some sort of mechanized insect, so it's perfect for science fiction fans. You strap the book in, spread it open, and slide the pages behind its? wings? And voila! Hands-free reading. As the book just sits in its stand, you can read it and do whatever else needs doing at the same time. When you need to turn a page, you just slide it out from under one wing, and into the other. Imagine how much easier it will be using, say, a cookbook while making your favorite Carne Asada dish (Tucson is growing on me.)

If you're on the go, lift the Bookhugger off the stand, close the book, wrapping it into the wings to keep it closed (it can be done quite easily) and go. When you get the chance to read, you have the book spread wide open, holding it with only one hand. Not bad.

Everything is telescopic, so it easily adjusts to any size book. But before I get to sounding like a paid advertisement, the product does have its drawbacks. The first is that the Bookhugger is great for mass market paperbacks, and thin trade paperbacks and hardbacks. Get much bigger than that, though and you start to strain the arms that hold the book open. If the book is any bigger than a mass market paperback, use the stand, as I found trying to hold a heavier book by the handle became a burden a bit too quickly. The creator of this device said that he had some future designs for bigger books.

Also, there is one aspect in the design that I think should change, and that is how the book is strapped in. Basically, you open the book to the middle, and an elastic band is strung between the pages and hooked at the top. It is effective, and isn't too difficult to do. But, when you unstrap the book, be sure to have a good grip on that strap, or else it'll snap back, and that isn't fun.

Still, if you have need for hands-free reading situations, or you hate trying to hold a paperback open with the fingers of one hand while holding your fork with the other, this may be your solution. You can find pictures of Bookhugger and order it from its website.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5


About Joe Murphy

Joe Murphy succumbed to leiomyosarcoma on April 1, 2007. The irony of this is not lost on any who knew him and laughed with him. He was the first “official” book reviewer for The Dragon Page Radio Talk Show, and after moving to Arizona, he became a frequent contributor to Cover to Cover, Wingin’ It, Slice of SciFi and co-host of Kick-Ass Mystic Ninjas.

He will be missed.

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