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.

Recollections of Trauma

Mothers trail winter scarves and leashes and slow-walk exhausted children while mounting bus stairs not knowing where their journey will take them, carrying shock, grief, and most likely hatred in their hearts but profoundly relieved to be safe and their children protected from the bombing. The observer's heart breaks for them and spins in grief and shock over yet another tragedy we humans have wrought for ourselves. In some respects these emotions of the riveted bystander are simple. Sympathy is simple. Decrying evil and crying out for decency is simple. But society, recollection, and sentiment seldom are simple. As [...]

Reading Groups

I had the pleasure last night of participating in a Chicago book group that was discussing my novel. The conversation was interesting and fun. I learned a few things about my book! I would be happy to participate in other reading group discussions. I'm pleased to see that my book is getting good reviews on Amazon and other sites. Published by Emily Hitchcock  · March 21 at 2:53 PM  · "Buy this book... And then, take the afternoon and evening off, turn off all your devices that ping and submerse yourself inside this compelling story. Beautiful and terrifying at once. Gorgeous lines, one after [...]

Maturational Shame

  March 20, 2022Today a friend forwarded me a NYT article entitled "The Many Uses (and Abuses) of Shame" https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/18/books/shame-machine-cathy-oneil.html?referringSource=articleShare3/20,22(Jennifer Szalai). The article focuses on a new book, The Shame Machine, by Cathy P'Neil, among other subjects. I was interested in the topic because I wrote two books on shame (The Shame Experience, and Shame in Context: http://susanbethmiller.com). The NYT article got me thinking a bit about constructive or what I'll call "maturational" shame in the context of fiction I have written, particularly my recent novel, A Beautiful Land, which, you may detect, I am trying to market. I had [...]

By |2022-03-21T00:49:27+00:00March 20th, 2022|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Excited to work for voting rights: Promote the Vote 2022

Along with many others, I have been very concerned about efforts to restrict voting rights throughout the country. In Michigan, where I live, a number of organizations are teaming up to try to place a measure on the November ballot that will enshrine critical voting rights in the State Constitution. I am working with Voters Not Politicians, the group that made a tremendous effort to pass Proposal 2, which ended partisan gerrymandering in Michigan by creating an independent citizens redistricting commission. Also involved with the current effort is the ACLU, which worked successfully to pass Promote the Vote into law [...]

By |2022-03-05T00:47:25+00:00March 5th, 2022|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Literati Bookstore conversation

Literati bookstore in Ann Arbor hosted me and podcaster Doug Wheeler (podcast, From the Belly) in conversation about my new novel, A Beautiful Land. Doug is a wonderful interviewer and it is always fun and interesting to talk with him. Literati posted the virtual event on their YouTube channel   https://youtu.be/1I868hIcP3U

By |2022-02-27T19:37:05+00:00February 27th, 2022|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Book Club Questions for A Beautiful Land

A number of book clubs in Chicago, Ann Arbor, and other areas of Michigan have chosen A Beautiful Land for discussion in the coming months. I hope members will find these conversations interesting. As an aid to thinking about the book, I drafted a number of questions that might guide discussion.   Here are some questions to choose among for a discussion of A Beautiful Land. If you have other questions to suggest, please put them in the comments.   What do we learn from the children's play that opens the book?   Are there any complexities in the character [...]

By |2022-02-21T21:26:59+00:00February 11th, 2022|Uncategorized|0 Comments

winter pleasure

Since we are up to our elbows in snow, I thought I'd post some winter photos. Many are of two beloved snow-loving dogs I lost last winter, but there is also an ovenbird who should have migrated south and had no business being in Michigan in the winter, as well as a snowy owl--a winter visitor from the north--and a few nature photos. And a drawing to fit the black and white canine theme. snowy owl   Hannah Webster

By |2022-02-06T01:16:22+00:00February 5th, 2022|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Disgust, Ethnicity, and Fiction

Post #5On December 27, the NYTimes (Molly Young) published an article--“How Disgust Explains Everything” https://www.nytimes.com/2021/12/27/magazine/disgust-science.html. The article looks at Paul Rozin’s early work on disgust as an emotion that helps us know what is safe to eat. The author examines as well the evolution of scholarship to explore disgust's broader interpersonal and moral functioning.Not much was said by Young about disgust in intergroup relations so I want to comment a bit on that subject. Disgust frequently operates powerfully and lethally in intergroup relations. Characterizations of the ‘other’ as disgusting have through the centuries been associated with acts of extreme violence—including [...]

By |2022-01-27T02:13:00+00:00January 11th, 2022|A Beautiful Land, Disgust, Essays, Ethnicity, Fiction|0 Comments

More on Cultural Appropriation in Fiction

Post #4 How does a person establish the cultural or ethnic group to which they belong? Does another person define it for me or is the judgment my own? If it is my assessment, do I look only at the most obvious, surface characteristics that define me, for example skin color or country of origin? If my group membership is decided by others, from the outside, can I as an Ashkenazi Jew write about Sephardim? Can an African-American write about a person born and raised in Nigeria?   I have on occasion written about black-skinned people--some African-American but also Jamaican [...]

By |2022-01-09T03:35:37+00:00January 9th, 2022|Uncategorized|0 Comments
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