About Susan Beth Miller

Susan Beth Miller lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She is the author of two novels, A Beautiful Land (Boyle&Dalton, 2021) and Indigo Rose (Bantam 2004), as well as a number of psychology books: The Shame Experience; Shame in Context; Disgust: the gatekeeper emotion; When Parents Have Problems: a book for teens and older children who have a disturbed or difficult parent; and Emotions of Menace and Enchantment: horror, disgust, awe, and fascination.

Faulkner’s Light in August Revisited

I recently reread Light in August, published by William Faulkner in 1932. I experienced it as a parading and indictment of the stunning racism and misogyny of the white southerners at its center and I wrote a blog post sharing those views. I later mentioned the book to my friend Samuel, an African-American man in his 80s. I wondered if he’d read it because he’s a great person to discuss books with. Samuel hadn’t read the book because he’d heard over the years that Faulkner was very racist, but he decided to read it now despite that. After confronting [...]

So You Asked What I Feel About Overturning Roe (she said, screaming)

Radical rightwing assault on female reproductive liberty has grown like a pustule on the American body politic and is ready to release its toxins far and wide. This ugly growth explodes from the confluence of deep desires to control women’s reproduction and limitless greed for power. Votes translate to muscle in Washington DC so the powers that be are more than happy to feign an achingly principled objection to abortion if that posture opens the spigots for rightwing money flowing into their re-election coffers--since re-election (by whatever means necessary) is the ONLY currency of any worth. Dressing themselves in [...]

By |2022-05-09T16:16:40+00:00May 6th, 2022|Uncategorized|1 Comment

NY Times on Lived Experience

Pamela Paul published an interesting piece on cultural appropriation in the New York Times yesterday (4/24). The piece is 'The Limits of Lived Experience.' Paul discusses the issue I considered in my author's note to A Beautiful Land: the author's right to consider any subject matter they feel equipped to explore. But rather than simply defend the author's right to write, Paul points affirmatively to the at-times uniquely valuable voice of the outsider. #PamelaPaul #LivedExperience

Light in August by William Faulkner

I read Light in August many years ago and was moved by it but didn't remember a great deal more than that. I wanted to revisit it. With this reading, I again found it to be a remarkable book. It is first and foremost an unflinching book—from a fearless writer—that examines Southern, American society in the early 1930s and finds it in many respects insane in its delirious fundamentalist animus toward black-skinned people and sexual women. The story opens and closes with bookending scenes of a young woman, Lena--preternaturally calm in demeanor--who goes in search of the father of the [...]

Midwest Beauty

I used to joke that it’s great to live in the Midwest because any direction you travel is a vacation. More interesting, more beautiful. Not so these days. I’ve come to appreciate the quiet beauty of Midwestern landscapes. Yes, there's climate change and the reality that coastal living brings visions of sinking into the sea or rising into the sky in smoke and ashes, so the Midwest seems relatively safe. But I think it’s also the gift of dog walking. Dogs need to stick their noses into every tuft of grass where a mouse might be quivering, to stand frozen, [...]

By |2022-04-10T16:44:33+00:00April 10th, 2022|Uncategorized|0 Comments

When We Were Orphans (Ishiguro): book review

I admired this carefully crafted novel in some ways but was ultimately unsatisfied by it. Per usual with Ishiguro, it is thoughtfully structured and narrated in the first person by an unreliable narrator whose inner reality we gradually discover as the story proceeds. Very briefly, the narrator is a man living in England whose parents disappeared in Shanghai China when he was a child living there. He assumes their disappearance related to the opium trade and as an adult becomes a detective in part to try to locate them. The language, as in other Ishiguro books, is precise and can, [...]

By |2022-04-06T22:53:04+00:00April 6th, 2022|Uncategorized|0 Comments


It is wonderful to see the western world opening arms and hearts to the vast numbers of Ukrainian refugees. That compassion and assistance is badly needed by displaced and traumatized people. Watching the river of refugees admitted into Ukraine's neighboring countries, as well as the huge financial outlays from the US and offers of resettlement, my thoughts turn to the streams of Central American refugees destined for capture and subsequently treated with contempt and a cynical attitude toward their applications for asylum.   Why are these refugees considered unwelcome invaders and, once in custody, treated like prisoners? The majority of [...]

Kitchen Implements and Aging

Last month I bought pie weights which I don’t use often but now have available in lieu of random oven-proof objects to hold down a pie shell for blind baking so that it doesn't bubble up in the oven. Yesterday I bought a meat mallet. I will no longer pound chicken breasts with a hammer to thin them for chicken piccata. I almost bought a Japanese spider strainer but decided I may not need one because I have a slotted spoon and a traditional strainer. Though the old strainer is dented and a bit rusty, it will suffice.   I [...]

By |2022-03-31T21:47:58+00:00March 31st, 2022|Uncategorized|0 Comments
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