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Bookmarks: Featuring works by Furman writers

ROBERT WHITLOW ’76, The Living Room (Thomas Nelson, 2013). The latest novel from the best-selling Whitlow focuses on Amy Clarke, a legal secretary and novelist whose dreams provide the plots for her books. As she begins her third book, the nature of her dreams shifts and they begin to foreshadow real life. Before long the scenes begin to spill over into her waking hours. As she becomes entangled in an intense case at work, her visions take on a dark hue and implicate someone dear to her. Can she act to prevent tragedy? This is the 13th book from the Christy Award-winning Whitlow, an attorney who lives in Charlotte, N.C. Visit

TOMMY HAYS ’77, What I Came to Tell You (Egmont USA, 2013). The author’s fourth novel is a young adult book that writer Ron Rash describes as “a great-hearted novel filled with wisdom and truth.” Set in Asheville, N.C., where Hays lives, it follows the efforts of 12-year-old Grover to deal with his mother’s death, and how friends and family ultimately help him cope. Novelist Josephine Humphreys, holder of an honorary degree from Furman, says the story is “rich with the troubles of love and grief, family and community, but there’s a surprising aura of innocence over all, lifting the novel and its readers into another realm.” Hays is executive director of the Great Smokies Writing Program and a lecturer in the Master of Liberal Arts Program at the University of North Carolina-Asheville. Visit

J. MICHAEL MARTINEZ ’84, American Environmentalism: Philosophy, History, and Public Policy (CRC Press, 2013). The book provides a foundation in American environmentalism as well as modern environmental politics, agencies, stakeholders and tenets of the sustainability movement. It examines the main decision criteria for policymakers and how to actually “operationalize” sustainability amid the competing priorities of consumer needs, ethical ideals, lawyers, lobbyists and politicians. Martinez, who has doctorates in political science and public administration, is corporate counsel for a company in Monroe, Ga., and teaches part time on the college level. Visit

TRACY BEHRENS SANDS ’90, The Christian Alphabet Book: Teaching Children About Jesus, Prayer and the Bible (Love the Dove Publishing, 2012). The book offers young readers the chance to learn about foundational Christian truths and how those truths weave together to create a rich tapestry of faith. Sands, who also illustrated the book, uses scripture and easy-to-grasp images to help parents share the Gospel with their children. She holds a master’s degree in art education from Georgia State University and taught arts in the schools for 10 years. She also has a small home business creating personalized Christian name art. Visit

SAUNDRA DAVIS WESTERVELT ’90 and Kimberly J. Cook, Life after Death Row (Rutgers University Press, 2012). Interviews with 18 individuals who have been exonerated and freed after years on death row illustrate their post-incarceration struggles with being wrongly convicted of capital crimes. Drawing upon research on trauma, recovery, coping and stigma, the authors depict the difficulties encountered by people striving to reclaim their lives after years of wrongful incarceration, and their search for acceptance and acknowledgement. The book also offers policy-based recommendations designed to help meet the needs of future exonerees. Westervelt is an associate professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro. (Furman featured her work in the Fall 2006 issue.) Cook is chair of sociology and criminology at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington.

GREGORY ELLISON ’94, Take Ego Out of It: Turn Stress Into Success in Relationships, Sports and Life (Bookbaby, 2013). Stress happens on a daily basis, and how you respond to it matters. This e-book outlines a simple strategy to cope with stress and to turn stressful moments into productive ones by training yourself to think before you react. Ellison lives on Hilton Head Island, S.C. Visit

JAMES KNARR ’02, Uruguay and the United States, 1903-1929: Diplomacy in the Progressive Era (Kent State University Press, 2012). The publisher says, “A major portion of the Uruguayan story revolves around the figure of two-time president José Batlle y Ordóñez, the nation’s dominant political figure between 1903 and 1929. . . . [The book is] the first study to look at the political, social, and commercial relationship between Batlle’s Uruguay and the Progressive Era United States. Knarr comprehensively explores how Batlle’s liberal ideas, partially built on U.S. concepts, resulted in a relationship that brought rewards for both the United States and Uruguay.” The author lives in Lincoln, Neb., and has a Ph.D. from Texas Christian University.

MICHELLE “BROWNIE” PUGH ’05, Love at First Hike (CreateSpace, 2013). The author, an emergency medical technician in Simpsonville, S.C., writes about her effort to fulfill a childhood dream of hiking the Appalachian Trail, a quest she began shortly after graduating from Furman. Her trek provided her a host of new experiences and a blossoming romance, but after an injury forced her off the trail she feared that both her dream of reaching Mount Katahdin (the trail’s end) and her hopes for the relationship were gone. Little did she know what the future held, and despite additional setbacks that caused her quest to be further delayed, she never gave up on her goal.


NICHOLAS F. RADEL, Understanding Edmund White (University of South Carolina Press, 2013). This is the first book-length critical study of the work of America’s best-known gay novelist. Radel, who has taught English at Furman since 1986, examines White’s writing within the changing social contexts of the past half-century, when gay and lesbian individuals began to be increasingly accepted by society. White, who was on campus this spring to teach the English department’s “Writing with Writers” May Experience course, is most famous for his trilogy of autobiographical fiction — A Boy’s Own Story, The Beautiful Room is Empty and The Farewell Symphony. He is the author of a series of experimental and historical novels and is a regular contributor to The New York Times and the Times Literary Supplement in London.


Last updated August 29, 2013
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Clinton Colmenares
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