Top 4 Blogid blogs you must read today!

Belgium is in lockdown again and I must admit I find writing about clothes in this situation difficult. It's not that I think I shouldn't or that I believe it's somehow wrong to contemplate garments when the world is suffering, I just mostly don't feel inspired*. Which is unfortunate, as I still have some nice pictures from my photo shoot in Estonia, which I haven't posted. So I have figured out a clever way to solve this problem: I will write about something else and still share the photos. In this specific case, there is in fact a thematic link. As you can see, I am wearing my Bose wireless headphones (because I left my beautiful B&O ones in a gym in Estonia and had to buy a new pair), which fit nicely with the theme of my post – listening to books. I have been very late to the audiobook party, as I'm a relatively conservative reader when it comes to the actual process (not necessarily the content). I like books as physical objects and the act of reading when curled up on the sofa, so it took me a while to come around to e-books and even longer to a-books. Ultimately, however, my priority is to absorb as many books as possible and the medium is secondary. If it helps me to get some reading done, I'm all for it. What finally made me give listening a go was the lockdown. To get my 10 000 steps in daily, I now often had to do them all in one go in the evening. Which means an hour and a half of prime reading time spent walking around. On many days, this left me with no 'proper' reading time at all, what with working late, cooking, doing my French homework and spending time with L. Something had to be done. I signed up to Audible and started experimenting. I had decided from the beginning that I don't want to listen to fiction (who knows, I may change my mind, but for now I'm sticking with it for now), so I opted for different genres of non-fiction. I listened to Gretchen McCulloch's Because Internet and Olivia Laing's Funny Weather, Glennon Doyle's Untamed and Maria Konnikova's The Biggest Bluff, The World by Richard Haass and Human Kind by Rutger Bergman, How Do We Know We're Doing it Right by Pandora Sykes and Other People's Money by John Kay and most thrillingly, to Twilight of Democracy (Anne Applebaum) and The Sixth Extinction (Elizabeth Kolbert). My conclusions? For me, memoirs and essays make the most sense as audiobooks, especially if read by the author. Lighter non-fiction is good, too. The thing is that you have to concentrate properly as you listen and when books are too dense, they can get too difficult to follow. Visual elements or quotes from other languages can also be complicated. For example, the otherwise fun and very listen-able Because Internet included many emojis and emoticons that don't translate well into the audio format. Also, obviously, if you find something difficult to grasp on paper (for example, different financial instruments in my case), it will be even worse as you listen. I also discovered that even when I listen to books, I prefer to have a paper copy as well, so that I can check things I perhaps didn't get when listening or just follow along on paper. This is how I have been reading more challenging texts and while it's time-consuming, I have been really enjoying this method. For example, I am currently two thirds into Arabs: A 3000-Year History of Peoples, Tribes and Empires by Tim Mackintosh-Smith. It's about 550 pages on paper and more than 25 hours as audio and even with my pretty decent knowledge of Islamic history (for a layperson in the West, I mean), it is not an easy book. So what I've been doing is listening to it as I walk and then reading it afterwards, pen in hand. I don't think I've ever gone through a book more thoroughly and it's been a rather wonderful experience. I used a similar method with Kolbert, Applebaum, Kay, Bergman and others, although here I did the reading more diagonally. I fully understand that buying a book twice is not an option for many people and I find it annoying that there aren't bundles that would make it more affordable, but I will most likely continue reading like this (one reason I got Arabs on Audible was that I knew it'll take me a while to get through and I wouldn't need to constantly buy new books). A totally unexpected – and delightful - side-effect of listening to books is the links that form between the physical space I walk through and the words I hear, turning the world into one giant memory palace. When I read the words on paper, I'm instantly transported to a place where I heard it, a bit like scents can do. So Maria Konnikova's first successes at the poker table are in my mind forever connected to the Tallinn seaside, Glennon Doyle's rather unconventional love story takes me to pretty conventional street corners in Brussels' European Quarter and a lot of Umayyad and Abbasid dynastic infighting has happened between the fruit and vegetable isles at my local Delhaize. I have always enjoyed the way music can turn a walk to the office into a romantic or empowering experience. But the same is true of books. Others may think you are on the metro or walking through a busy street, while you are in fact in 8th century Baghdad or watching coral reefs bloom in the Pacific Ocean. *That said, this lack of inspiration is clearly related to the pandemic – I have other things on my mind. Clothes don't seem that interesting. The dress I'm wearing is by Emilia Wickstead and it's a type I've liked for more than a decade and will probably continue to like for a few more. It can be worn to work with a blazer and to cocktails without and even made relatively casual by adding a slouchy knit and sneakers. Images by Laura Nestor, MUAH by Lembe Lemmiksoo, although I applied the lipstick myself:).

.. kultuursel teemal. In estonian language.

“There are too many confusing things present. Things I know. Thoughts I have. Sarcasm. Things I think I ought to be doing and places I ought to be going. Always other places.”