Creating the Perfect Reading Atmosphere

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Photo by Gabriela Palai on

Have you ever been to a restaurant and the waiter or the menu suggests the perfect wine to pair with a meal? The aroma and taste can take a meal to a whole new level, right? Well… you can do the same sort of thing with a book.  There are certain things you can do to augment the book reading experience to really set the atmosphere while you read.

One of my favorite things to do is use wonderful candle aromas to fit the book.  Most people wouldn’t think of using a smell to go with a book, but let me tell you… the perfect smell can really set a scene! Go ahead and try it!  It really adds to the experience.

I love candles.  My favorite are the wonderful candles from Bath and Body Works.  I’ve found they are the longest lasting with a strong smell that lingers long after you put the candle out.  For example… let’s say I’m reading a book that takes place in fall.  I will light a pumpkin pie candle.  Winter time? Hot chocolate  or peppermint candle.  Maybe it is spring time?  How about a strawberry candle or a lemon candy candle!  What about summer time, you ask?  I’ve got the perfect kettle corn popcorn candle for that.   I always enjoy matching a candle to a book.  And as an added bonus, when you are reading something scary, the light from the candles gives a dark room the perfect visual atmosphere to go along with the aroma.

A few of the candles I use.

Sometimes I also like to add to the atmosphere with audio.  I don’t use this one as often as the candles, and obviously you don’t use it with an audio book because the sounds will get too cluttered.  With audio atmosphere, I usually match up the era of the book with music from that era.  Like, when I read a pulp from the 30s and 40s,  I’ll add some swing music in the background.  Or maybe I’m reading something that was written in or takes place in the Victorian era,  especially if it’s Victorian horror, Mozart has several ominous sounding requiems that have a very beautifully creepy feel to them.  Trust me, it really sounds pretty epic!

Another audio bonus I’ll run across every now and then is straight from the author of the book!  Sometimes in the introduction or on an authors website they will mention a band, album, or certain songs they listened to while writing the novel.  Really, you can’t get a much better pairing then what the author recommends! 😮

The most obvious choices to augment your atmosphere is lighting.  I’m sure most people probably do this without even realizing it.  Reading horror?  Turn the lights down low, make the room dark, and get wrapped up in blankets.  Reading something summer or spring-ish?  Try sitting outside with some natural lighting and having the sounds of nature around you.  I like to go to a park and find a nice comfy place to sit for a while.

There are really a ton of different things you can do to set just the right atmosphere.  These are just a few of my favorite suggestions.  I’m sure you will be able to come up with more things to do, or maybe you already have something you do to add atmosphere to your reading experience?  Let me know! I’d love to try it out. 😀


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