Erik Kwakkel on medieval deskstops and how they were designed specifically for reading:
While it is easy to find images of scribes with a desk full of books, it is less common to encounter readers in similar situations. That is to say: there are very few medieval scenes in which someone is reading but not writing – where books are present but pens are not. In part, this has to do with medieval study practices. Readers would usually have a pen nearby even when they were just reading. After all, remarks and critiques needed to be added to the margin at the spur of the moment.
Alongside this post, it looks like there’s whole bunch of wonderful articles about reading and writing on the rest of Erik’s website. Adding this one to my ever-expanding RSS feed.