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November 1, 2004

Reading in bed - the search for the Holy Grail of reading lights continues...


Ever since I was about six years old, curled up in a little ball and hidden under the covers with my book and a flashlight, I've loved to read in bed.

Decades have passed, nothing has changed.

Except the reading lights have gotten more expensive.

My latest attempt to find the perfect bedtime book reading light is the I-Sight Over-The-Ear booklight ($24.95), pictured below.


Oh, was I excited when it arrived.

Couldn't wait till bedtime to try it out.

Alas, another flop.

Comfortable, yes.

Uses a AAA battery instead of a watch battery, yes.

But only one LED: way too dim for easy reading.

I've found that four LEDs is required for good illumination of my book in bed at night.

Unfortunately, my 4-LED night-time reading appliance turned out to be this one,


From Black Diamond ($29.95).

It's a caver's/hiker's headlight.

And it's as uncomfortable in bed as it looks.

Looks more like a jockstrap than a headlight, now that I take a good look. But I digress.

Black Diamond also makes a lighter version ($16.92) with two LEDs


that's got the same limitation as the I-Sight: too dim.

It does, though, look much less forbidding and bondage-device-like than their 4-LED iteration.

I no longer even bother with the type of booklight that clips to your book: they don't stay put, especially with paperbacks, and they're also way too dim.

Some might say that's a perfect fit for the writer of this dross; but not you... right?

An aside: I'm seriously considering offering the red beanie with the white B-for-bookofjoe worn by the reader pictured leading off this post as the very first item to be offered for sale should I ever get around to opening a bookofjoe online store.

It's a can't-miss must-have best-seller just waiting for launch.

Meanwhile, the search for the perfect reading light continues....

November 1, 2004 at 11:01 AM | Permalink


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Look no further... screws into wall or bed and runs on A/C.

Posted by: G deRamel | Sep 19, 2006 10:28:31 PM


I use it and love it. I don't use the clip - you can rest it on your chest if your sleeping on your stomach, on the bed if on your side. Its very adaptable and casts a really good light.

Posted by: Don | Jun 28, 2006 4:52:13 AM

I use the Princton Tec EOS for reading in bed and practically everything else. When I get up at night I do not turn lights on in the house any more.

The beam is a little narrow for reading so am shopping for a broader beam. Princton's Quad has such a beam and I am about to order one for my wife to try out.

Posted by: Bob Walton | Jun 25, 2006 8:30:49 AM

Try http://www.BookMateStore.com/clip-on-book-lights.htm

While we appreciate your use of our cartoon, we don't appreciate it's use without attribution. The fact that you didn't mention our "Mighty Bright Clip-on Book Light", which can be powered by A/C adapter or batteries, was also not appreciated, since it's the best all-around reading light we've found in many years.

You are right about the red beanie with the "B" for "BookMate" (not BookofJoe)...It's not for sale!

Webmaster at BookMateStore.com

Posted by: Webmaster at BookMateStore.com | Jun 19, 2006 8:21:29 AM

I was looking for a reading light for my wife and came upon your site the other day. After reading all the pitfalls I decided to conduct my own recon for the perfect light for the bride.
Well..its done, I found it, I solved the problem, AS ALL MEN DO..! and my wife is very happy.
yeah...all right..I'll tell you what I did.
I went to several business supply stores, and novelty item web sites. I came upon a two arm, swing out desk light. extends maybe 4 feet, has a small lamp dome 2" or so, uses a really bright torch type bulb...and get this..it's adjustable for brightness.
I mounted it on the wall at the head of her bed. (also can be mounted to a headboard or close night table).
It took two small screws to do it and my wife can now get in bed, swing the light over to her, position it to where ever she wants it, and start reading. I like it when she re-positions her self in the bed and just has to reach up and swing the light to the new perfect position. The power cord hides nicely behind the drape, or you can hide it behind the headboard. I have even thought of putting it lower, next to the night stand, and letting her swing it up and to her.
I am now trying to work on making this light a clip on so as not to need screws.
Then there is always the Star Trek leap. I am also looking at making the whole light and swing arm assembly lighter, thinnier, more compact. AND... finally... making it totally portable by making it fold neatly up and away in a, no more then, 8"X4" unit. AND...get this.. it would work with magnets. That's right folks magnets. A base unit would use that really sticky tape, you could peal and stick the metal disc on any surface you choose, then just attach the lamp's permenant magnet base to the disc.
You would get maybe 6 discs with the 1st order of the lamp and be able to order 6 packs of discs when you run low. cost.. maybe 39.99 for the lamp when it's done. The new order of a 6 disc pack would cost cost 8.99. NO you can't pull the disc off the wall when you leave the hotel. Unless of course you really need that little piece of sheet rock that now is attached to the back of the disc. Come on now.. how cheap are you..?
AND... I am looking at a similar reading device lamp that will utilize a free standing tripod which would stand next to the bedand also be multi directional. Weight, isze and travelability are all being factored in to the thought.
I will however, for you camper persons, try and figure out how to do one or the other in a totally portable, battery powered, model.

Kim Benson
Alpharetta GA

Posted by: Kim Benson | Mar 11, 2006 11:23:17 AM

Just ran across this and I had to laugh. I too, have been faced with the reading light problem.

The answer (drumroll) is to have your partener wearing a black mask.

Posted by: katie | Dec 4, 2005 12:42:38 AM

How much progress since December 2004????
I am in Puerto Rico and with a ORian lady whio has become "the love of my life." Hoiwever, when I returned from Duke University a few weeks ago, I brought with me a LED headlamp--one of those jock-strap-looking things. One night I 'surprised' Gigi and as she came to bed after showering, I was wearing it, pretending to be reading a book. THe scream she let out was amazing! I am a generally goofy guy, liking to play a lot. Well, this device on my head went beyond the pale (or is it pail??). Joking further, I told her that the headlamp would help me 'linguistically'. She asked "How?!" and I responded "It will make me a more precise and effective 'cuning linguist'. Well, that night anyway, the only lingual activity was the severe tongue-lashing I received.

If anyone can help me, not with my linguistic skills, but with aa more comfortable and attractive headlamp (for reading only!), I wil appreciate it.

P.S. Our bed is in a room that Gigi painstakingly decorated and it is "perfect" having absolutely beautiful artwork, marble-topped dresssers, etc. You can imagine how my suggestion for installing a halogen reaing light was received! A similar suggestion for an under counter kitchen sink lamp led to heart palpitations (which negated other palpitations for a few days!)

Posted by: Joeseppe Bonaventura | Aug 13, 2005 9:58:33 AM

I just found this: http://www.lifesolutionsplus.com/product_info~cPath~33~products_id~119.htm

It looks halfway decent. I'm just afraid it may be a little heavy. Why can't there just be a nice little discreet clamp-on quality reading light for my headboard? I'm still searching...

Posted by: Alison | Dec 2, 2004 11:23:31 AM

Have you looked at the LightWedge at Levenger.com? Haven't tried it but it's worth shot, I'd say.

Posted by: Pete O | Dec 2, 2004 9:33:56 AM

I want the red beanie!!

Posted by: Lisa | Nov 2, 2004 10:18:55 AM

I forgot to say that the headlamp that looks like a jock strap lives by the side of the bed cause you can never tell when the power's going to go out. It is ok for reading but not great.

Posted by: Liz Ditz | Nov 2, 2004 1:55:07 AM

I have these two torchieres--floor pole lamps-- that have a second light on a bendy arm that are positionable--one for each side of the bed. Perfect lighting, and you can position the light so it doesn't shine on your bed partner (should you be so fortunate to have one).

I have tried ebooks and it just doesn't work for me..........

Posted by: Liz Ditz | Nov 2, 2004 1:53:52 AM

Solution: Get a TabletPC and turn on cleartype. You can even borrow your ebooks for free from a public library like http://KCLS.ORG.

I read bookofjoe from bed all the time...

Posted by: Chris | Nov 1, 2004 1:50:21 PM

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