For as long as I can remember, I have been an avid reader. Even with repeated warnings from my mother to “use a better light or you’ll be sorry; you’re ruining your eyes”, I was never very particular about the light in the room; as long as I could make out the letters on a page, the light was “good enough for reading.” As a child I would tell my parents goodnight, and ask them to shut my door when they were done with the evening tuck-in. The minute they did I would not only have a book whipped out from under my pillow, I would have a flashlight pulled from under my bed. Come to think of it, I’ve always had a thing for good flashlights, too…but I digress.
Of course mom’s warnings came true: At twelve I was fitted with my first pair of glasses, a few years later came my first set of contacts, and until I had Lasix surgery in 1999, my eyes only continued to grow progressively worse…partially because I would not stop reading in poor light. I always did have a stubborn streak.
For me, one of the biggest benefits of reading from a PDA has been that I am never without an adequate lighting source; I can read just about anywhere and at any time. While I’ll admit that there are moments when I might miss the sensation of turning a paper page, the benefits of eBook reading have erased my desire to continue filling the shelves of my living room’s overflowing built-in book cases; I now do the same thing virtually on an external hard drive.
Perhaps because she grew up watching me constantly read, whether from a bound book or from a PDA, my daughter Sarah is also an avid reader. Unlike me she does not want to read from a PDA, she prefers “old-school” paper books. I now find myself in the unenviable position of repeating the same words my mother would say to me, “use a better light or you’ll be sorry, you’re ruining your eyes.”
So far, at 17 Sarah has good vision; but that doesn’t mean that I won’t worry. I’ve told her from the beginning that if she is going to read in bed to turn on the overhead light in her room, or at least use the light I put on her bedside table. But she’ll still sit on the couch in a darker room and pull out her latest tome; what’s a mother to do?
Keep an eye out for a book light that she will use, obviously.
That’s why I was so interested when I received notice that MyLight has just released the marklight. A book mark that also functions as a book light? Sounds like it might just be the thing I have been looking for. Is it? Let’s take a look…
The marklight is available in four different versions: genuine leather, faux leather, woven nylon and plush print. I was sent samples of the black leather and the leopard print plush. Each book mark measures 9″ long x 1.75″ wide x 0.5″ thick on the fat end which holds three bright white LEDs. The leather bookmark is 0.13″ thick and the plush bookmark is 0.14″ thick. One side is completely devoid of branding, with the exception of a small fabric “mylight.com” tag on the left side.
Depending upon the marklight’s materials, the branding will either be embossed, foiled, sewn on, or a combination of several.
LEDs - three 8,000 mcd lamps
Battery Type – cell type: Lithium 2032
Battery Life – about 40 hours – with 2 fresh lithium cells
The sliding power switch has three stages: When set to the left all three LEDs will be on, in the middle just one LED will glow, and when set to the right it will be completely turned off.
The beam produced by the marklight is quite bright, even with just one LED glowing…
…and here it is with all three turned on. The marklight also functions very well as an impromptu flashlight when needed.
It’s rather tightly fitted, but the capsule which holds the LEDs and batteries can be removed from the marklight’s body when it is time to replace the batteries.
The first few times that this is done, the capsule may have to be “coaxed” from the bookmark. After a while the material should loosen enough to allow easier removal.
In between the two layers of material making the outside of the marklight, there is a flexible metal strip which allows the light’s body to be twisted or bent as needed while reading. I was pretty rough with it, and it seemed to accept and hold the bending just fine.
My only reservations about the marklight are that it seems a bit thick when used with a paperback as a bookmark – it might be easily dislodged, losing the reader’s place.
In a larger hardback the light fits nicely inside the back cover…
A couple of other placement options include holding it in place with either the right or left hand against the cover of? a paperback book.
Another option when sitting is to fold the marklight and place it at the bottom of the opened book (held against the reader’s lap) so that the beam is shining directly upon the pages. I’m sure that there are many other positions to use the light in addition to the ones I’ve listed, but one of the interesting uses I noticed on the MyLight site was to bed the marklight over and use it as a laptop light. This might come in handy for other non-touch typists such as myself.
Overall the MyLight marklight is a nifty device that knocks out two of the common needs when reading a bound book; it serves both as a bookmark and as a reading light. The gift-giving season is about to start up soon, and the MyLight marklight booklight would make a thoughtful gift for any bound-book reader on your list. I’m giving these to Sarah.
The MyLight marklight is available directly from the manufacturer. At this time only the black leather is available, but the other materials and colors are shown as “coming soon”.
What I Like: Flexible design, different materials, bright aimable LED lights, serves as both a bookmark and as a booklight, long battery life, great gift idea
What Needs Improvement: Bookmark feels a little thick for paperback books, it might be knocked from place easily