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Since I was a an undergrad student (now master) I couldn't find a way to arrange my desk so I can read programming books (and other books) easily. Normally what happens is that I have a keyboard in front of me, and then when I want to read a book I push the keyboard to the front. Then I read couple paragraphs and I find myself that I need to apply an exercise or google and read something, so I put the book away and return the keyboard and apply .... and the process continues. I find this to be extremely boring and I get tired actually of doing it, so I ended reading very little. I also tried to read directly from the computer but I find that it is also bad for the eyes.

Then I tried to get a laptop (Macbook), but the process continued as I now push the entire laptop away.

Putting the book next to the keyboard is not a good option as well, as I have to keep moving my chair left and right, which is also a very exhausting process. Now I wonder if you guys use some better arrangement for your desks. I hope if you can provide pictures or also. Or even ideas for the design of the table or so.

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I answered with what I do. Can you post what kind of chair/desk you have now so we can comment on what would be easier to get to from that setup? –  Jeanne Boyarsky Jun 22 at 12:43

4 Answers 4

Buy a booktop desk stand, also known as desktop book holder.

If you take one that attaches to the side of the desk, you can swing it in any direction:

enter image description here

If you keep your book at the same distance from your eyes as your monitor, you avoid having to refocus your eyes (less eyestrain, less fatigue).

Edited to add: and make sure the one you buy has a way to keep the pages open

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do you use it personally? –  Alex Twain Jun 21 at 12:54

If you use a computer desk with a sliding keyboard drawer, use that drawer/shelf for your book while the desktop for your keyboard. This way, you have the least amount of interference and have both access to all three things (keyboard, screen and book) at the same time.

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I prefer to use computer in corner between three tables and rotating chair so I have table space on both sides and shelves above. Who needs windows if you can have computer cave?

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I have three tables.

  1. Traditional computer desk with a keyboard tray. My trackpad is also on the keyboard tray. To the right of the keyboard tray is my lamp, pens and a paper for quick notes.
  2. A utility cart with my second monitor on it. I turn my head slightly to the left to see this monitor. I use the shelves on the cart for non-office type things. Only the top is relevant to my setup
  3. A table with two shelves. Again, what is on the shelves is just storage. The top is computer books I'm using while on the computer.

I have a swivel chair so I can easily turn between the book and the computer.

Also, in front of the computer desk is a whiteboard on the wall. I can't reach it without getting up, but it is in line of sight for reading which is helpful.

Here is a diagram of how it looks:

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