Share A Peek Behind Stu’s Shelf

A Peek Behind Stu’s Shelf

We are passionate readers who love nothing more than discovering fantastic books and sharing them with friends. We recommend books that move us to laughter and tears—and everything in between. Trust us when we say, "You've got to read this!"

Meet Stu! He’s a California native, raised on healthy doses of John Steinbeck and Jack London. When asked about his formative years, he is likely to respond “the only good things to ever come out of Sacramento were me and Joan Didion.” Now a proud resident of New York City, he can be found on warm days lounging in Central Park with his dog on his lap and a manuscript in his hand. You’ve probably spotted Stu in our Facebook Live Book Club discussions.

Q:  What are some of your favorite books/authors?

A: Joan Didion’s PLAY IT AS IT LAYS, Don DeLillo’s WHITE NOISE, Salman Rushdie’s MIDNIGHT’S CHILDREN, Hanya Yanagihara’s A LITTLE LIFE, and Charlotte Brontë’s JANE EYRE. I fricking love JANE EYRE.

Q: What is your favorite place to read? 

A: I have a few. We go to a snowy cabin in Vermont during long winter weekends and I love to get under the covers and curl up with a book there. But during the summer, I always rent a beach house with my friends and I love to sit by the pool and roast in the sun with a good book. In both cases, my dog Gunner is right there with me—so I guess it could be surmised that my favorite place to read is wherever he is. We lounge well together.

Q: Tell us about your job. What’s it like working in sales?

Simply stated—I put the books in the airports. I absolutely love it. I love the people I work with, the customers I reach, and all of the authors who enjoy seeing their books out on the road. The sales team here is a large extended family. It is made up of incredibly smart, fun, and energetic people. I love to hear my colleagues’ ideas and different takes on books. And, above all, everyone in this department is here because they love books. Growing up I didn’t have a large breadth of people I could talk to about books and stories—so you can imagine that coming to work for a major publisher was sort of like stepping through the looking glass and finding all of these wonderful people who share my exact same passion.

Q: Outside of books, do you have any fun hobbies?

A: I am a pretty active person, but it’s true that wherever I go I have a book with me, sneaking in a chapter here and there. I ski, swim, and run. I go to the theater regularly and very much enjoy the Broadway season. I also try to get to a new exhibit at one of the museums in New York every month.

Q: What are some things Off the Shelf readers don’t know about you?

A: Fun Facts: 1. My go-to playlist for a long run is just a loop of different renditions of the song “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” by Whitney Houston. I cannot get sick of that song. (Helpful tip: if you are ever at a party that is not going well and people are not dancing, ask the DJ to put that song on and I guarantee you that everyone will get out of their seat. It has worked countless times for me.) 2. I sing songs to my dog in the morning when we are waking up. He has a favorite and it’s called “Would You Rub my Belly.” If I sing that song he will roll over and let me scratch his belly.  3. I once walked up to Carrie Underwood at a party and told her that she owed me $9.99 for her album Some Hearts and I was asked to leave the party shortly thereafter. Zero. Regrets.

Some of Our Favorites Posts by Stu:

The Always Delightful Magic of Alice Hoffman

The Charming Narrator All Readers Will Want to Befriend

An Unputdownable Series to Read in the Last Days of Summer

What Happened Before the Fall?

Who Says You Can’t Go Home Again? You Can in These 5 Books


A Little Life
by Hanya Yanagihara

I’m not exaggerating at all when I say I cried for 700 pages of this 832-page masterpiece. I have never loved a character more deeply than I love Jude, the main character in this ode to male friendship, who is scarred and broken from an unspeakable trauma. Reading about Jude’s ever-changing relationships with his three best friends from college was one of the best experiences I’ve had as a reader—and certainly as a crier.

Read the review of A LITTLE LIFE.

A Little Life
Hanya Yanagihara

I’m not exaggerating at all when I say I cried for 700 pages of this 832-page masterpiece. I have never loved a character more deeply than I love Jude, the main character in this ode to male friendship, who is scarred and broken from an unspeakable trauma. Reading about Jude’s ever-changing relationships with his three best friends from college was one of the best experiences I’ve had as a reader—and certainly as a crier.

Read the review of A LITTLE LIFE.

MENTIONED IN:

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By Lara Blackman | April 10, 2018

A Peek Behind Stu’s Shelf

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By Julianna Haubner | November 9, 2017

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By Off the Shelf Staff | September 29, 2017

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By Taylor Noel | September 4, 2017

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Jane Eyre
by Charlotte Bronte
A novel of intense power and intrigue, Jane Eyre has dazzled generations of readers with its depiction of a woman's quest for freedom. Having grown up an orphan in the home of her cruel aunt and at a harsh charity school, Jane Eyre becomes an independent and spirited survivor-qualities that serve her well as governess at Thornfield Hall. But when she finds love with her sardonic employer, Rochester, the discovery of his terrible secret forces her to make a choice. Should she stay with him whatever the consequences or follow her convictions, even if it means leaving her beloved?
Jane Eyre
Charlotte Bronte

MENTIONED IN:

A Peek Behind Stu’s Shelf

By Off the Shelf Staff | March 29, 2018

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A Gentleman in Moscow
by Amor Towles

Maybe it’s the copper cup or the alliteration in the name that attracts us to this beverage again and again. And the perfect companion is A GENTLEMAN IN MOSCOW, set in the beautiful Metropol hotel in Moscow. Amor Towles spins the immersing story of Count Alexander Rostov, who is sentenced to house arrest after being deemed an unrepentant aristocrat.

Read the full review of A GENTLEMAN IN MOSCOW.

A Gentleman in Moscow
Amor Towles

Read with a Moscow Mule

Maybe it’s the copper cup or the alliteration in the name that attracts us to this beverage again and again. And the perfect companion is A GENTLEMAN IN MOSCOW, set in the beautiful Metropol hotel in Moscow. Amor Towles spins the immersing story of Count Alexander Rostov, who is sentenced to house arrest after being deemed an unrepentant aristocrat.

MENTIONED IN:

10 Recommendations Straight Off Library Bookshelves

By Off the Shelf Staff | April 13, 2018

A Peek Behind Stu’s Shelf

By Off the Shelf Staff | March 29, 2018

Readers’ Choice: The Top 10 Most Shelved Books in January

By Off the Shelf Staff | January 26, 2018

The New “O” Book Club 2.0: 12 of Obama’s Favorite Books

By Julianna Haubner | January 12, 2018

Staff’s Choice: 12 Recently Shelved Books from the Off the Shelf Team

By Off the Shelf Staff | November 24, 2017

The Charming Narrator All Readers Will Want to Befriend

By Stu Smith | November 2, 2017

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White Noise
by Don DeLillo

WHITE NOISE tells the story of Jack Gladney (teacher of Hitler studies); his fourth wife, Babette (who may be taking a drug that makes her fearless); and their four children. Relevant when it was released more than 30 years ago, and still relevant today, especially with our national addiction to consumerism and technology, this disturbingly funny satirical-dystopian-American-family saga speaks volumes about the universal fear of mortality.

Read the full review of WHITE NOISE.

White Noise
Don DeLillo

MENTIONED IN:

A Peek Behind Stu’s Shelf

By Off the Shelf Staff | March 29, 2018

Three Cheers for the Red, White, and Blue: 9 Books to Enjoy for the Fourth of July

By Allison Tyler | July 4, 2017

A Sage Take on Consumerism and Technology

By Sarah Woodruff | February 5, 2016

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Play It As It Lays
by Joan Didion

Los Angeles, CA: Set in a place beyond good and evil—literally in Hollywood, Las Vegas, and the barren wastes of the Mojave Desert, but figuratively in the landscape of an arid soul—this is a profoundly disturbing novel, riveting in its exploration of a woman and a society in crisis, and stunning in the intensity of its prose.

Read the full review of PLAY IT AS IT LAYS.

Play It As It Lays
Joan Didion

Los Angeles, CA: Set in a place beyond good and evil—literally in Hollywood, Las Vegas, and the barren wastes of the Mojave Desert, but figuratively in the landscape of an arid soul—this is a profoundly disturbing novel, riveting in its exploration of a woman and a society in crisis, and stunning in the intensity of its prose.

MENTIONED IN:

17 Amazing Books Featured in the “Fahrenheit 451” Movie

By Sarah Jane Abbott | July 19, 2018

A Peek Behind Stu’s Shelf

By Off the Shelf Staff | March 29, 2018

A Quick, Hypnotic Novel from a Literary Legend

By Nikki Barnhart | March 9, 2018

There’s Nothing Like Summer in the City: 14 Metropolitan Must Reads

By Julianna Haubner | August 10, 2017

Get Your Kicks with This 8 Book Tour of Route 66

By Hilary Krutt | July 21, 2015

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Midnight's Children
by Salman Rushdie
This novel is at once a fascinating family saga and an astonishing evocation of a vast land and its people–a brilliant incarnation of the universal human comedy. Twenty-five years after its publication, MIDNIGHT'S CHILDREN stands apart as both an epochal work of fiction and a brilliant performance by one of the great literary voices of our time.
Midnight's Children
Salman Rushdie

This novel is at once a fascinating family saga and an astonishing evocation of a vast land and its people–a brilliant incarnation of the universal human comedy. Twenty-five years after its publication, Midnight’ s Children stands apart as both an epochal work of fiction and a brilliant performance by one of the great literary voices of our time.

MENTIONED IN:

A Peek Behind Stu’s Shelf

By Off the Shelf Staff | March 29, 2018

9 Books That Will Have You Reading from Dawn till Dusk

By Sarah Jane Abbott | March 26, 2018

5 Of Our Favorites from the Man Booker Prize

By Off the Shelf Staff | October 2, 2014

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