This is totally a shout out for a really interesting thing that, you’ll soon find, is completely up my alley.
Booktrack is an organization that specializes in integrating sounds and music into one’s ebook reading experience. In other words, they allow true ambiance to be heard as you read, which is seriously something I’ve been doing by myself for years. The difference, though, between me renaming my mp3’s for my personal amusement (and inspiration) and Booktrack’s methods is that Booktrack will allow for triggered events and synced sound — as you read whatever ebook, it’ll calculate your reading speed as you go, and the sounds you hear as you go will be heard at the appropriate times, based on what page and where you are in the book.
There’s an excellent demonstration here, as well as an accompanying TED talk.
Turn the page and perhaps the scene changes from one character’s perspective inside a jail cell to someone else’s outdoors in the forest — one might hear dripping water, clanging iron doors and the distant footsteps of jailor’s boots. Turn the page, hear wind through the leaves, birds in the branches and crickets in the grass.
Do you have a playlist for your writing, or your reading? Do you pick and choose various bits of ambiance to have going in the background as you do, well, life? Well I do, and the fact that this sort of thing is becoming a thing really has me excited. The best audiobook experiences I’ve had were the ones that were more akin to audiodramas, with bits of music or occasional sound effects to really spice up the listen. When I read, when I write, when I create or otherwise experience life, I like to have as many senses engaged as possible, and while I’ve heard of people who prefer to read in complete silence, hey, more power to ’em — but I don’t get it, personally. Clearly, things like Booktrack are not for those folks.
I suppose it’s akin to listening to music with words while reading/writing — something I utterly cannot do — yet I’ve read and heard of folks who do so without issue. Stephen King comes to mind, stating in his book On Writing that he’ll have classic rock playing in the background while working. When I hear words, I generally can’t focus, or sometimes will end up typing the words I hear by accident. How he (and anyone else like him) can do that is beyond me, but then again most music that people listen to is beyond me anyway.
At any rate, Bookrack is something I really dig, and plan to get invested in in the near-future. They currently have a whole list of public-domain books available for download, so you can check out and see what it’s like most easily. In addition, they’ve got a feature that actually lets you try it out for yourself, either with a story already available or with one of your own.
I am so on this.
Today’s track, in the event that I apparently haven’t shared it in the past already, is a 40-minute-ish bit from Skyrim (also known as the Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim), one of the best atmospheric tracks I’ve found. Play this if you need a mood-setter for traveling in the wilderness, whether your character is a beast, a hunter, or nature itself.
Happy writing, dear readers!