I think is it clear to everyone that I love reading. I genuinely think it is one of the joys of life. When the new year started, I saw a lot of folks talking about wanting to read more. A noble goal, but honestly, reading for the sake of reading or to scatch something off a list isn’t the right way to go about it. You need to experience a book, as weird as that might sound. Skimming through a book without taking anything in is like watching a movie sped up with no sound, pointless.
Ambience can make a noticeable difference. Not only does it help focus and concentration, but can make the experience more immersive. Another bonus is that it helps you to relax. At the end of the day, reading is meant to be a chilled out type of hobby. I find that you get the most out of reading when you are relaxed.
There are two easy ways to do this, by using sound and smell. Let’s start with sound.
I tend to pick soundscapes and ambient videos that tie into whatever I am reading. Listening to lofi and music, in general, can work too, but I do suggest that you don’t listen to songs with words in them. Video game and movie soundtracks are a good bet. You can find some great ambience videos on YouTube that have music and sound effects, like crackling fire and rain. For example, when I read a dark and moody book, ones with rain help get me into the right mindset.
On Spotify, you can find make reading playlists based on particular books. Sometimes writers create some themselves. Silvia Moreno-Garcia, the author of Mexican Gothic, made a playlist for her book.
Onto smell. I do find that smell helps when reading, but I know it isn’t for everyone. I adore candles, I have a growing horde of them that I burn when I read. Like with sound, I try to match candles to novels.
Folk even sell candles inspired by books, I own quite a lot of said candles. Sometimes I even pick up a candle if I know I am going to read the book it is inspired by. You can find some great ones on Etsy, although my favourite, who I got to interview, is The Candle Rooms.
General room of thumb for scents, if you are reading set in the countryside, go floral. Nautical stories or ones sent by the coast are best paired with oceanic candles. If you are reading a horror novel, I suggest candles that have kind of a smoky smell. For adventure books, go with nature smells. Finally, classics work well with a candle that smells like aged books (yes, those exist and are delightful) or tea.
Some people, myself included, like to snack while reading. I will admit, I am the kind of bookworm who likes to keep her books as pristine as possible, so I avoid anything that could make a mess. So, my go-to reading snack is mint imperials. You can suck on them for a while, they don’t make a mess and it has been said that it can help concentration. Mint tea works well too.
Tea, in general, is often a good idea.
Finally, I encourage cosiness at all costs. Find a place that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy whenever possible. Wherever that its. By a window, at your desk or lying upside down on your bed. Go for it.
I hope these tips and tricks helped you. If there is anything you think I missed, or any tricks you want to share, please let me know!
I didn’t know Silvia Moreno-Garcia made a playlist for Mexican Gothic. That’s awesome!
My go-to ambience source is a YouTube channel called Miracle Forest. It’s full of ambience videos with a distinctly spooky twist. I’d highly recommend trying them out if you haven’t already.
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I love Miracle Forest! Her stuff is so good, perfect for spooky novels!
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