About

What is this?

Shelf Reflections is, simply, a blog about reading and literature.  Mostly about my own reading experiences, and perhaps with the occasional cultural commentary or life-moment intervening here and there, but otherwise that’s it.

So it has nothing to do with consumer reports? Or Sean Connery?

No.

Ok. But who are you?

My name is Chris Chan, and I’m an amateur literary critic and hapless reader who enjoys reading literature.  I live in a small town near a big city on the East Coast. I went to – and graduated from, earlier this year – a university no more than a 15-minute drive away from my homes (the one I once lived in, and the one I live in now). I studied English and chemistry for four years at said university. Currently I work as an editor (okay, proofreader) at a major pharmaceutical company.

That doesn’t sound very convincing.  Why should I bother reading someone else’s writing about reading someone else’s writing?

That’s a good question.

Shelf Reflections began as an idea I’d been floating around for a year or two, but I couldn’t find the catalyst to start it until recently. Once I graduated from college, found the time to read recreationally (and get a job), and listen to my thoughts, I realized that, frankly, I wanted to create something about things that I love.  Substitute write (or drawpaint, or photograph) for “create,” a blog for “something,” and “books” (or texts) for “things,” and you get the idea.

Hmm…

You’re right. Maybe you don’t need to read “someone else’s writing about reading someone else’s writing.” That’s ok. It’s perfectly fine by me.

But maybe you’re a bit like me.  Maybe you live in a community where conversations about books, poetry, performances, or languages are difficult to find, let alone start. Maybe you’d like to find someone to talk to about these things and ideas.  Maybe you struggle a little with reading, too, yet enjoy it anyway because it’s a challenging and rewarding activity.  Maybe you hope to keep learning, whatever age you are, because that, too, is a challenging and rewarding activity. If any of that resonates with you, then I hope you’ve found the right place. The shelf is always open.

Or maybe you’re not that kind of person – not yet, or never will be. And that’s fine too. I see no reason to direct you otherwise. You’re nevertheless more than welcome to stop by.

Ok. I think I get it. Anything I should be aware of before we start?

Maybe a couple of things:

  • I usually write every other day. If I can’t finish a book “on time,” I’ll most likely dig up something I wrote a while back and rework it into a post. (That being said, I have no idea how long this project will last – I have a 1-in-3 track record of maintaining blogs, so keep your fingers crossed!)
  • This blog is intended to be more conversational than academic, but in general I like to bridge the two styles together. A lot of ideas that float in my head have their roots elsewhere, and I’ll do the best I can to give credit where credit is due. If you intend on using any written material from this blog, please cite it properly (I entrust you to find the proper style guide for doing so).
  • I am doing my best to actually list the books I talk about, for anyone who wants to look up posts quickly rather than trawl through the pages or rely on the vagaries of searching. You can find that list on the Shelf page.
  • Last but not least, comments are always, always welcome. Even better, don’t be afraid to leave recommendations for books, articles, or other literary/cultural blogs. The shelf is always open!

Nice tagline. Is there anywhere else I can find you?

If you’re interested in the blog that ‘survived’ – or if you’d like a unique take on Hong Kong – check out “The Hong Kong Project” at https://thehkproject.wordpress.com/. I no longer update that one, but you’re more than welcome to read whatever suits your fancy.

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