Shelf Life

The nosy neighbor, access to food, ‘leaving silence’ and the burden of memory

Compiled from promotional notes

Pictured above, from left: Ken Kolb, professor of sociology, at the Hampton Avenue bridge in Greenville’s Southernside neighborhood with S.C. Rep. Chandra Dillard, René Vaughn, Mary Duckett, Lillian Brock Flemming ’71 M’75 H’14 and Rev. J. M. Flemming.



Cynthia King

(University of California Press)

Furman sociology professor Kenneth H. Kolb examines the failure of recent efforts to improve Americans’ diets by increasing access to healthy food. Based on exhaustive research, this book documents the struggles of two Black neighborhoods in Greenville, South Carolina. For decades, outsiders ignored residents’ complaints about the unsavory retail options on their side of town – until the well-intentioned but flawed discourse. Soon after, new allies arrived to help, believing that grocery stores and healthier options were the key to better health. These efforts, however, did not change neighborhood residents’ food consumption practices.

“Retail Inequality” explains why and also outlines the history of deindustrialization, urban public policy, and racism that are the cause of unequal access to food today. Kolb identifies retail inequality as the crucial concept to understanding today’s debates over gentrification and community development. As this book makes clear, the battle over food deserts was never about food – it was about equality.



Aaron Simmons

(BearManor Media)

Alice Pearce, once called “the adenoidal lass with the most beautiful homely face on Broadway,” carved a unique career playing wallflowers, nitwits, nags and other oddball characters, all of whom contrasted sharply with the portrayer. As the shy daughter of an international banker, she experienced a privileged upbringing, attending exclusive schools in Europe and the United States.

Against her parents’ wishes, she pursued acting, eventually enlivening 13 Broadway productions and winning acclaim for her smash act at New York’s choicest nightclub, the Blue Angel. The Emmy-winning actress was featured in dozens of top TV series but achieved her greatest fame – ironically, at the very end of her brief life – for playing Gladys Kravitz, the snoopy neighbor on the TV sitcom, “Bewitched.”

Fredrick Tucker’s book, “Sweet Oddball,” is exhaustively researched and illustrated with 225 rare photos. Tucker is a retired educator who enjoys studying character actors of stage and screen. “Sweet Oddball” is the culmination of research that began in 1975, and is his second book. He majored in business administration at Furman.


Savita Nair



Andrea Bobotis’ atmospheric debut novel, “The Last List of Miss Judith Kratt,” follows a Southern woman named Judith Kratt as she untangles the dark legacy of her family’s possessions in a South Carolina cotton town. Interweaving the present with chilling flashbacks from one fateful evening in 1929, Judith creates an inventory of her family’s heirlooms, an undertaking that reveals the very inheritance she’d hoped to forget – one of bigotry and survival in the segregated South. “The Last List of Miss Judith Kratt” explores the power of objects, the weight of memory and the ties between who we are and what we own.

Bobotis earned her Ph.D. in English literature from the University of Virginia and was an English major at Furman. She lives with her husband, Jason Heider ’98, and daughter in Denver, Colorado, where she teaches creative writing to youth at Lighthouse Writers Workshop, a literary arts nonprofit.



Savita Nair

(Herald Press)

What if survivors of sexualized violence experience the Bible as a powerful spiritual resource rather than an oppressive tool in the hands of those seeking to dismiss or justify abuse? Bible scholar Susannah Larry leads fellow survivors and those who care for them in a journey toward reclaiming the Bible amid the trauma of sexualized violence.

The book is an unflinching examination of sexualized violence in the Bible and the God who stands steadfastly with survivors. Larry addresses biblical experiences of coercion, familial betrayal and self-blame, while also illuminating God’s constant care and concern.

By centering the experiences of survivors in Scripture, Larry opens new insights into some of the Bible’s most difficult texts and releases its ancient stories to serve as a powerful healing witness to the God who has shared in the experience of sexualized violence. Larry was a religion and poverty studies major at Furman. She earned a Ph.D. in religion from Vanderbilt University and is a professor at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary.

Visit the Furman on Main section at M. Judson Booksellers, our partners in downtown Greenville, for Furman tees, gifts and books by Furman authors. MJUDSONBOOKS.COM.

Where you have been, where you’re going.

Students in Furman’s Master of Arts in Strategic Design program graduated in December 2021. Among their pieces are the four featured in our digital gallery.

In February, the university honored several alumni and friends for their personal achievements, generosity, service and leadership.