By Lev Butts
“You read a good bit, don’t you?”
During a recent visit with my sister and her husband, my brother-in-law pulled from his desk drawer a small wooden doohickey. It was about an inch tall, four inches long, and about another inch at its thickest, but tapered down to a dull point on either end. There was a round hole through the thickest part. It looked very much like an airplane propeller with the blades on wrong.
“Sure,” I replied, “I read a good bit.” I am, by profession an English professor.
“Then you need this.” He tossed it to me and surprisingly, I caught it. “It’s a PagePal. Put your thumb in the hole.” He instructed. “It’ll hold your pages down while you read.”
I have to admit that when I first heard about the Page Pal, I thought it was kind of useless and mostly gimmicky. After all, why would I need a little wood thingamabob to hold my book pages down when neither of my hands are missing, and I have not recently been struck with palsy?
However, it may be the best thing I never knew I needed. First of all if you’re a reader who normally reads a book with two hands, the PagePal is indeed a help in that it allows you to read with one hand, freeing up your other hand to do whatever a hand does while you’re reading. Hold a banana or a soda, I guess. Maybe a cigarette?
I, however, have always been a one-handed reader: Generally, I use my pinky and thumb to hold down the pages, and the other fingers support the back of the book. It has worked well for me over the years except for two things: It only works for small to moderately sized paper backs. Hardbacks tend to be prohibitively uncomfortable for one-handed reading. Also, as you can no doubt tell from the picture here, even with a paperback, this position can put a good bit of strain on the hand if held for any great length of time. I therefore find myself frequently setting the book down to give my fingers a break.
Not so with the PagePal. It allows a more natural positioning of the hand with the thumb pressed into the crease of the pages while the entire hand rests naturally on the back of the book. More importantly, it works equally well on both paperbacks and hardbacks.
After trying it for a few days, I discovered the most important benefit of all. It allows me to read with my left hand. While I can read fairly well with just my right hand, despite the two problems mentioned above, since I am right-handed, my left hand simply does not have the endurance required to hold a book by itself for even the limited amount of time I can with my right hand.
The PagePal, however, allows me the freedom of holding the book left-handed. Why is this important? In my job, I read a lot of books for class or scholarship. For the first time in my life, I am now able to take notes on my book while I’m reading instead of having to put the book down (possibly losing my place) in order to jot down ideas. This alone makes the PagePal indispensable as a reading tool.
The PagePal is made by Missing Digit Woodshop, a family-owned artisan company in Villa RIca, Georgia, dedicated to creating interesting and useful woodwork. Each of their products are excusively created, handled, and guaranteed. The PagePal, as well as their other products, are available on Amazon and their online store.