I think it’s possible that paper books are bad for the eyes

Recently I had a mania for paper books. I don’t know exactly what it was, but I was like, “Maybe reading paper books will rejuvenate me in some fashion!” So I bought several of them and started reading.

There is something fun about the paper book. You hold it. You have a physical sense of progress. The paper feels good. It’s not valuable. You can toss it around. It’s an object in the world.

But the bad thing is that it’s hard on the eyes!!!

I should’ve known this would happen. On my kindle I not only read with fairly large type, I read books double-spaced. Not only that, but I have a Kindle with one of those front-lit screens, so the lighting is always bright, but it doesn’t shine into your eyes.

And maybe it was a mistake to embark, during my paper book odyssey, on such a fearfully long book as Youngblood Hawke, which is Herman Wouk’s 788 page brick about a novelist who has a meteoric rise to fame and subsequently wears himself out. The book is excellent. I read the entire thing in three days. But today at about evening my head began to throb! I mean it seriously started to hurt quite badly. And I rested my eyes for a bit, but with every page the throbbing increased!

Which is actually kind of a shame, because I really was enjoying the paper book thing. Oh well.

Comments (



  1. Anonymous

    There are magnifying glass sheets you can use to increase font size on analog.

    1. R. H. Kanakia

      I’ve actually tried that, but it’s a bit cumbersome to always be positioning your book under a big sheet of glass or plastic.