Feeling the Atmosphere in Reading

I love reading books that pull me into the scene.  The action and dialogue is very important, but I get a lot of the feeling from the setting.  I love beautifully described scenery in books.

For example, Dan Simmons does a wonderful job in his Hyperion Cantos series in describing the different worlds.  I feel like I’m there.  There are so many wondrous and spectacular worlds to explore.  George R. R. Martin does a great job with A Song of Ice and Fire (aka Game of Thrones for those of you who only watch the TV series).  I feel the realism and grittiness of the atmosphere.

In the real world, I enjoy exploring new places, not only to see interesting things, but also to discover new atmospheres.  I like to experience how a place feels, and how it makes me feel.  Every place is unique, even though the urban landscape doesn’t change very much here in Japan.  Every neighbourhood has its own character and atmosphere.  I love that.

Weather also affects atmosphere.  Weather is, by definition, caused by the atmosphere, and it also creates atmosphere.  Later this week, a typhoon will hit my area.  During a typhoon, everything seems to change.  It’s like I’m in another place.  In fact, I love typhoons.  I find them fascinating.  I’m looking forward to the weather this week.

The sun can also create atmosphere.  Nighttime feels totally different than daytime.  The shadows are different.  The air is different.  Areas that are vibrant and busy during the day may be dark and mysterious at night.  This is shown quite a bit in Terry Brooks’ The Word and the Void series.  A lot of the story takes place in a park, yet the feeling is totally different between day and night.

Seasons bring different atmospheres, as well.  I love the feeling of spring and summer.  While the weather is wonderful here in fall, it also gives me a feeling of sadness, as it’s getting cooler and moving toward winter.  Winter is my least favourite season, so I’m thankful it’s quite short in the Tokyo area.  But snow can sure change the atmosphere.  It rarely snows here, but when it does, it seems strangely peaceful, yet chaotic.  The white coating over everything looks and feels peaceful, but human behaviour is completely changed.  And lots of people are out when it snows, especially those trying to figure out how to drive and walk.

Whether in a book or real life, I really enjoy feeling the atmosphere.  It can affect my mood and outlook on the day or scene.

How’s the atmosphere where you are now?

11 thoughts on “Feeling the Atmosphere in Reading”

    1. It’s raining here now. Not so hot, but this is still rainy season. This week is seeing tropical air coming up from the south along with a typhoon, so it’ll be hot and humid, not just daytime, but also at night. It’s truly summer, and nighttime is no escape from the heat and humidity.

  1. It’s normally hot and dry here (around 110F/43C, American desert southwest), but right now we’re on the cusp of the monsoon season so it’s hot and muggy and cloudy. Smells like dust and impending rain. Quality of light is so different because we normally have a completely clear sky.

    1. Ah, the same kind of thing happens here at this time of year. It’s monsoon season, and with the air thick and humid, the sunsets can be spectacular. It remains very humid through the entire summer, too. August should be around 32-35C and humid.

  2. I miss typhoon weather in Japan! There’s something mysterious about it. Everyone is nicer to each other (maybe because sometimes they get a break from work).

    1. People are sharing an experience. Same happened with the big earthquake 3 years ago. Thankfully, it’s my day off this Friday, which is when the typhoon is expected to hit here.

  3. Personally I love really hot weather. It’s over 100 degrees where I live daily 😀 I love landscape and weather descriptions, so I use lots of different weathers and landscapes. Although I rarely associate weather with a mood in my long chaptered fantasy story because it would get too campy because I describe weather so much. If one seldom does a landscape or weather description, I think connecting it to the mood of the story is adding an additional layer. I do that in short stories as well. I am going to sound like a broken record, but Cormac McCarthy excels at landscape descriptions. With people and dialogue his prose is very plain, but he goes all out on those landscapes XD Thomas Hardy, an English writer in the late 1800s/early 1900s, also did lovely landscape descriptions. His prose is definitely old-timey, so I can’t say that I recommend it. But his stories are really amazing. They made his story Tess of the D’urbervilles into a movie. It’s really sad 😦 Faulkner explores both people and setting equally I think. I might have to check out Dan Simmons. I’m always looking for new books to read 🙂

    1. You can check out my reviews of Dan Simmons’ books. He not only describes scenery well, but he does well with action. One warning, though, the violence is rather gory and the sex is explicit.

      My interest in McCarthy is going up. I think I need to check him out. I love good setting descriptions. I love scenery in real life, too. I enjoy landscape photography a lot.

      Pretty hot where you are. It was only 90F/32C here today, but very humid. Typhoon is coming this Friday.

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