While language use in general is currently being explored as essentially situated in immediate physical environment, narrative reading is primarily regarded as a means of decoupling one’s consciousness from the environment. In order to offer a more diversified view of narrative reading, the article distinguishes between three different roles the environment can play in the reading experience. Next to the traditional notion that environmental stimuli disrupt attention, the article proposes that they can also serve as a prop for mental imagery and/or a locus of pleasure more generally. The latter two perspectives presuppose a more clear-cut distinction between consciousness and attention than typically assumed in the communication literature. The article concludes with a list of implications for research and practice.