Now here is something unusual... an article that actually justifies one of my visual design decisions on my website.
See... very light background colors actually make text easier to read because your computer screen is not paper; computer screens emit light that may be hard on your eyes especially when they are bright; they work that way, and a natural consequence is that you can read a computer screen even in total dark, but you cannot read a paper in the same condition. Therefore we selectively reduce the brightness of just the background. The default background color in early web browsers was gray for a reason as you see. But since print-publications are black-on-white, it was thought that web pages should be like that too. Try returning to basics on your web sites; I don't mean use ugly grays for backgrounds but use light pastel tones that make text easier to read.
I've been trying to design something moderately attractive on my own for years now. My single rule has been that I refuse to base my page on black and white. I've thought for a while that as ugly as this site is, it really isn't half bad for reading large amounts of text on, and it gets incrementally better each time I tweak it. That's probably because it's not black on white, but black on really-light-blue.
At least I'm doing one thing right.