I got the idea for this post after reading Greg’s post about seasonal reading. His post got me thinking about why it is that seasonal reason is so much fun and how much my reading experience can be affected by my environment, and voila! A post was born.
Except in this discussion, I’m not just talking about the seasons or holidays. I’m including everything from the weather to the sounds around you to the temperature to the actual room or setting that you’re in. So let’s get discussin’!
As I briefly mentioned above, when I got to thinking about seasonal reading, I realized the reason I like it so much is because my environment and surroundings really do affect my reading experience. The right environment or ambiance or sounds or really anything external to the book can vastly improve a reading experience by drawing me deeper into the book and making me feel more like I’m really there.
In the case of holiday reading, there’s always just kind of something in the air around the holidays even though we can’t really explain it, and that just seeps into my reading experience when I read paranormal books in October or Christmas books in December.
I also like reading winter/cold/snowy books in the winter because the cold weather somehow makes them better.
I’ve always loved listening to music while reading, but not just random music—music that specifically goes with the mood of the book. For me, the right mood music can really enhance the feeling of a book, and it works especially well with books that are tense or emotional or haunting.
I was once reading a scene in one of the Gardella Vampire Hunters books by Colleen Gleason in which the characters were in a room with supernatural demon wind throwing them all over the place, and I didn’t realize until it turned off that my super loud air conditioning was really helping to set the mood and adding to the windy effect of that scene.
When I read Withered + Sere by TJ Klune, it was stormy out all day, and the sounds of thunder and rain, as well as the overall gloomy feeling, were the perfect background for that bleak yet intense dystopian/post-apocalyptic book.
If a book talks about a certain food a lot, eating that food while reading adds a true sensory experience because you actually get to smell and taste the food while reading about it.
On the rare occasion that I do read a scary/creepy/horror book, I love to read it at night in the dark because I think we can all agree that always makes it scarier!
Reading a book that’s set in some specific type of setting (e.g. a beach, a forest, a busy city) while in that same type of setting would probably be amazing since you’d have all the sights and sounds and smells and feelings as the characters without your brain even having to manufacture them.
So I guess what I’m saying is, I love using my environment to enhance my reading experience and get the most that I can from every book. It’s not always possible since not every book really has outside factors that go with it, sometimes we take our books with us when we go out to get reading done wherever we are, etc., but when it is possible, especially when it just happens on its own in an serendipitous sort of way (like the AC incident!), it’s a great feeling and makes reading even more amazing than it already is!