Michael Schaub

Michael Schaub is a writer, book critic and regular contributor to NPR Books. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Portland Mercury and The Austin Chronicle, among other publications. A native of Texas, he now lives in Portland, Ore.

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Wed August 8, 2012

Divine Beings And Socially Awkward New Yorkers

Meet God, according to Simon Rich. He's a mostly nice dude — compassionate, though he gave up on listening to prayers and intervening in the lives of humans years ago. ("[H]e's really more of an ideas guy, you know?" explains an angel.) He loves golf and the music of Lynyrd Skynyrd, and he's not averse to enjoying a beer or two during the workday. He's easy to like, except for two things: He's planning to destroy all of humanity so he can focus on opening an Asian fusion restaurant in heaven; and even worse, he's a Yankees fan.

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Inside America's 30-Year Conflict with Iran

David Crist's father, George (left), discusses operations against Iranian attack boats with Navy Lt. Paul Hillenbrand. George Crist, a Marine Corps general, was commander of CENTCOM from 1985-1988.
Courtesy of David Crist

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 9:27 am

Iran Says It Has Plan To Close Strait Of Hormuz. Iran Reports Long-Range Missile Launch Exercise. New Sanctions Targeting Iranian Oil. All these headlines appeared on NPR.org over the past month, but if they give you a sense of deja vu, there's a reason.

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Tue June 26, 2012

Aretha, Einstein And Knowing 'Too Much'

Express Newspapers Getty Images

America is a nation of fans. And though you might not know it by whichever forgettable pop singers are currently shooting up the Top 40 chart, we're serious about our music. "You can dispute folks' politics or theology and still drink with them," as Anthony Heilbut writes in his entertaining new essay collection, The Fan Who Knew Too Much. "But [tell me], for example ... that Bob Dylan's music is 'worthless' and, well, you're on your own." This is true.

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Wed June 20, 2012

A Question Unanswered: 'How Should A Person Be?'

Originally published on Wed June 20, 2012 8:36 am

The unexamined life isn't worth living, according to Socrates, and you'd be hard-pressed to find a writer who disagrees. Few, though, have taken it to the extreme that Toronto author Sheila Heti does with How Should a Person Be? The relentlessly introspective "novel from life" earned critical raves when it was released in Canada in 2010. The book chronicles Heti's struggle — sometimes hilarious, sometimes heartbreaking — to answer the seemingly simple questions: "What was the right way to react to people? Who was I to talk to at parties? How was I to be?"

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Books
5:03 am
Thu May 24, 2012

Literary Look Ahead: 13 Great Books On The Horizon

Harriet Russell

Originally published on Tue July 24, 2012 5:56 am

Despite what the book section of your local supermarket would have you believe, publishers don't really expect you to turn off your brain for the summer. Sure, every June brings a stampede of fluffy paperbacks with tired plots and hilariously unfortunate covers, but your summer reading experience doesn't have to be 50 shades of mediocre.

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Wed May 23, 2012

'Bodies': 'Wolf Hall' Sequel Outshines Original

istockphoto.com

Divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived. If you grew up in England, or just had a world history teacher who was weirdly obsessed with Henry VIII, you've probably heard the rhyme explaining the fates of each of the king's wives. For centuries, novelists, playwrights and filmmakers have been mining the Tudor family for dramatic gold, and with good reason: It's hard not to tell an interesting story about the monarch's parade of severely dysfunctional families.

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