No. 91/92: A Parisian Bus Diary, by Lauren Elkin
25 October 2021
It’s not exactly fiction, but I couldn’t go passed the concept behind No. 91/92: A Parisian Bus Diary (published by Tablo Tales, 2021), written by London based American-French author Lauren Elkin. Partly because it’s sometimes the way I use my phone – though not so much for keeping a dairy of what I see and hear on my travels on public transport – and partly because I think it’s such great idea.
For seven months, between September 2014 and May 2015, using the notes app on her iPhone, while commuting on the number ninety-one and ninety-two buses, to a teaching job, Elkin tapped in observations she made along the way. Perhaps not the way most people might use their smartphones, but Elkin’s aim was “to observe the world through the screen of my phone, rather than to use my phone to distract myself from the world.”
It makes me think, what if a copy of this book were given to every commuter? Might it prompt one or two people to think about how they spend their travel time, and who knows, consider using it differently, more – dare I say it – productively? And potentially end up a published author as a result: how does that sound for an enticement? It’s surprising how much is going on in the world, when we tune into it.