I use mine with the $39 case. The $59 (third party) case offers more viewing angles but I simply find things on the table to prop it to the desired angle and use the device in portrait mode with the flap folded over the back. When I want to type, I resort to Commodore 64 mode where the device is in landscape mode with the case folded such that it props up the device about 15 degrees.
The case offers you a more "book like" thing to hold onto. Without the case, I think the iPad might be slippery and "giant iPod Touch"-like. The case does add a small amount of weight but it is worth it to me.
Some people are simply never going to find a tablet (of any make) comfortable for reading. You have to repeatedly tap the screen to turn pages, so you can't hold it in two hands like you might an open book. You can't hold in one hand the same way you might hold an open book with one, as the home button is front center where your thumb would fall. OK, you CAN rotate the screen around to another side. It's still not a book, and some folks can't comfortably hold up a book either.
The iPad is twice as heavy as the Kindle, and I still find my Kindle awkward to prop up or hold when I'm entranced by a good read.
I'd look for an anti-gravity case. One that will suspend your iPad floating in front of you.
I like holding and using the pad without the case but I did purchase two cases. The apple case is really nice and it does add a feeling of security when using it while ambulatory. The belkin neoprene case with a pencil holder style pocket on the outside is also nice and small. But you do loose the nice built in stand feature of the apple case. Choices choices every morning..... I have the same issue with the iPhone.