Stories by Susan H. Greenberg

  • cheese-good-life-tease

    Making Cheese the Vermont Way

    I could sooner live without chocolate than without cheese. I eat it every day: cheddar grated in my omelet, Gorgonzola crumbled on my salad, Brie-smothered crackers for an afternoon snack. It has occurred to me that I might be considerably thinner if I would just give up cheese, but I don’t think it’s worth the sacrifice.
  • Adiga's Stories From India

    Like an Asian sister city to Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio, the fictitious town of Kittur, India, is full of anguished souls trying to find their place in the world. They fight, love and struggle their way through the overlapping stories in Between the Assassinations, the nimble new work from Aravind Adiga, the Indian writer who won Britain's Man Booker Prize last year for his savage first novel, The White Tiger. With his latest book, Adiga, 34, strengthens the brash voice that echoed through his debut. A graduate of Columbia and Oxford who grew up in the town of Mangalore (the model for Kittur), he is an insider with an outsider's probing eye, taking the country to task for its shortcomings—corruption, cronyism, inequality, indifference—while pulling for its success. ...
  • Do Americans Have Green Fatigue?

    One recent poll showed that American consumers are increasingly unlikely to spend money on energy-efficient goods and services.
  • Cool Drawers

    The refrigerator never seems big enough to hold all those holiday leftovers and half-drunk bottles of champagne. But appliance-makers have devised an innovative solution: refrigerated drawers, which can fit under counters or stand alone and dramatically increase cool-storage space. Aga's two-drawer refrigerated units come in black, blue, claret or cream, and include an extra-deep drawer that can fit wine bottles standing up ($2,950; aga-ranges.com). The commercial refrigeration company Perlick recently introduced a residential line, which includes two-drawer ($2,978), four-drawer ($5,257) and six-drawer ($7,936) stainless-steel units (the larger ones include freezer space) that can be built-in or freestanding. Built-ins are available in stainless infused with copper or amethyst color (perlick.com). And Sub-Zero makes a double-drawer refrigerator, freezer or dual model, which comes in various shades of stainless or custom panels (from $3,126; subzero.com). Chillin'.
  • Lessons In English

    Ha Jin's new novel, 'A Free Life,' is his first book set in America. Like his main character, the Chinese-born author has really made himself at home there.
  • The Good Life

    By Sana ButlerNext time you're in London, don't fret if you're too busy with meetings to visit the Churchill Museum. Just book a tour with the curator before opening hours. You'll see the Cabinet War Rooms, which look exactly as they did when Sir Winston and his advisers met beneath a hail of German bombs. And without the crowds you'll be able to see every map, chart and bowler hat (free with a stay at the Draycott Hotel, from $545; draycotthotel.com ).A growing number of topflight hotels can arrange private tours of some of the world's most spectacular galleries, museums and historical sites. You can even spend an evening with King Tut; Cairo's Mena House Oberoi can schedule after-hours visits to the Egyptian Museum. The hotel has also been able to arrange private access to the pyramids of Giza, directly behind the property ( oberoihotels.com ).Location is everything. Dublin's Merrion Hotel can arrange private gatherings in the National Gallery of Ireland, right across the street....
  • The Good Life

    Fashion: Swinging in StyleBy Karla BruningCall it the Michelle Wie effect. With plunging necklines, miniskirts and bright prints, women's golf wear is the newest fashion frontier. Accounting for the fastest-growing slice of the golf market, women spend more than $4 billion a year in apparel, equipment and greens fees, according to the U.S. National Golf Foundation. But stodgy Bermuda shorts and polo shirts simply won't do for today's fashion-conscious players. Nike and Adidas have attracted a new generation of style-savvy golfers with their updated lines. Now a handful of women's golf-wear start-ups are teeing up to do the same.Founded by three friends, Verdina introduced its first line in January, incorporating "details of the fashion industry," says cofounder Melissa Maundrell. "[The clothes] should be nice enough to wear in the clubhouse afterward." Verdina uses lightweight, textured fabrics instead of performance materials. The Chevron Stripe Dress, made of viscose and stretch...
  • Some Kind Of Love

    When we first meet Emilia Greenleaf, the narrator of Ayelet Waldman's novel, "Love and Other Impossible Pursuits," she is dashing across New York's Central Park, dodging baby strollers and averting her eyes from every playground. This is because she recently lost her newborn daughter to SIDS, and can't bear the sight of other children. Whatever sympathy this may elicit in the reader is quickly tempered by the hostility she shows for her stepson, William, the neurotically precocious 5-year-old--who refuses to ice-skate without a helmet--she is en route to retrieve from preschool.It's easy to see why William is so tentative about Emilia. She seduced his father, Jack--a borderline-too-good-to-be-true Jewish lawyer--at the law firm where they both worked, breaking up his marriage. And although William is a weird kid, given to phrases like "So it is," he's still just a little boy, making Emilia's relentless irritation with him hard to take. It helps only slightly to learn that Emilia is,...
  • The 'Familymoon'

    Cathy Wright's second honeymoon wasn't exactly the lush romantic getaway most newlyweds imagine. For one thing, she and her new husband, George, spent a night camped out in a cave. For another, they had company: her two teenage sons. Together, the four hiked, caved, rappelled and sailed their way around Belize for eight days last April. Since it was a second marriage for both of them, the couple was less concerned with finding time alone than with building ties together. "We wanted to make it more of a family-bonding experience," says Wright, 42. "We had to interact with each other the entire time." When the couple stayed alone in the cave, the boys, 13 and 14, slept right outside in the jungle with guides--and plenty of snakes. It turned out to be everyone's favorite night of the trip. "I couldn't imagine going on a honeymoon and excluding the two people who mean most to you," says Wright. "All those shared experiences--it's a great way to start a new life together."For couples...
  • CUNNINGHAM'S WHITMAN SAMPLER

    If Michael Cunningham hadn't already written "The Hours," "Specimen Days" would be a bold and innovative novel that didn't quite work. But following on that graceful, Pulitzer Prize-winning paean to Virginia Woolf and the women who love her, Cunningham's latest effort--starring Walt Whitman in the Woolf role--feels like a strained and familiar novel that doesn't quite work. Like "The Hours," "Specimen Days" follows three groups of similarly named characters--in this case, a man (Simon), a woman (Catherine, Cat or Catareen) and a child (Luke or Lucas)--through three eras: New York City during the early industrial age, after 9/11 and in a postapocalyptic future.Linking the three novellas is Whitman's "Leaves of Grass." In the first and strongest section, "In the Machine," a sickly, Whitman-quoting teenager tries to avenge his brother's death--and win the love of his bereaved fiancee--by getting a job in the factory where he was killed. On the street one day he meets the poet himself,...
  • THE GOOD EARTH

    It used to be that people went on holiday to get away from it all, to taste the exotic and see how the rest of the planet lives. No more. These days people are more inclined to use travel as a way to affirm their connection to humanity, to measure the things we all have in common. It's less about being jolted out of your own world than about feeling bolted to the wider one. As travel becomes increasingly affordable to the middle classes--and as even the earth's most remote reaches become accessible--the ease and prevalence of globe-trotting is creating a new breed of traveler: the global citizen. Rather than feel like an outsider looking in, the global citizen is at home wherever he goes, and feels as connected to--and responsible for--any Himalayan village or Amazonian rain forest or African desert on the itinerary as he does to his own hometown.This desire to belong to the world is perhaps an outgrowth of the lingering vulnerability engendered by 9/11--and, more recently, last...
  • BOOKS

    Despite the SystemBy Clinton HeylinIn this blow-by-blow account of the travails of Orson Welles, Heylin pits the visionary filmmaker against the philistine studios. After "Citizen Kane" tanked at the box office, the studio RKO took control of Welles's next projects. It is heartbreaking to read the filmmaker's reasonable--and largely unheeded--pleas for the integrity of his versions of "The Magnificent Ambersons" and "Touch of Evil." Heylin, a British biographer, relies too heavily on journalistic cliches, and his jauntily aggressive tone is downright grating. But it's not his fault that the story ended as unhappily as your average auteur film.--David GatesSmall Mediums at LargeBy Terry IacuzzoIn this lively memoir, a professional psychic to New York celebrities wittily recounts her colorful childhood in a dysfunctional Sicilian-American family of seers. Her father gave betting tips to friends, her mother revealed neighbors' marital secrets, her sister led seances, her brother...
  • SNAP JUDGEMENT: BOOKS

    Home Landby Sam LipsyteSince two of the blurbs compare Lipsyte's slacker narrator Lewis Miner to Holden Caulfield, let's not--and anyhow, old Holden wasn't much of an ironist. Lewis will win your heart early on: " 'F--- you,' I said. 'I've been meaning to say it for a long time. I just couldn't find the right words'." Lewis tells his story to his old high school's alumni bulletin, which chronicles the achievements of such alumni as a steroid-shooting major leaguer--except Lewis is the kind of guy who gets stoned and imagines being strapped to "a satellite in deep orbit, shooting out rays of entertainment, its hazard lights blinking red in the void." "Home Land" is so good it even blurbs itself.Honored Guest by Joy WilliamsThis third collection of Williams's darkly comic short stories still has the spiky, spooky, deadpan feel of the best '70s and '80s fiction. Like Raymond Carver, she keeps her eye on the dislocations in her characters' lives and her ear on the glitches in their...
  • TURNING HATRED INTO HOPE

    For Terry George, the pivotal moment in his quest to make the film "Hotel Rwanda" came when he visited a memorial to dead Tutsis in Murambi. He had traveled to Rwanda with Paul Rusesabagina, the hotel manager whose heroic story of harboring refugees during the 1994 genocide became the subject of the film. In Murambi, Rusesabagina showed him the technical school where 40,000 Tutsis were lured under the guise of protection--and then slaughtered. Many of the corpses, laid out on platforms as a grim memorial, were bleached white by the lime used to preserve them. "The very color that would have saved their lives, they became in death," says George, 52. "At that moment the film went from being a passion to an obligation."With the Dec. 22 release of "Hotel Rwanda," George triumphantly fulfills that obligation. Already the film has generated considerable buzz, earning three Golden Globe nominations--including ones for best drama and best actor (Don Cheadle). But will moviegoers really...
  • EMPTY STARTING BLOCKS

    Carol Howe is Canada's third fastest female marathoner, with a best time of 2 hours 34 minutes. That's a full three minutes faster than the International Olympic Committee's qualifying standard. Yet when the women's Olympic marathon kicks off in Athens Aug. 22, Howe won't be running. Neither will any other Canadian woman--or man. The reason? The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) has made its national standards so tough--2:28. 14 for women and 2:12.38 for men--that no marathoner has qualified. After disappointing showings in Atlanta and Sydney, the COC hopes to boost the country's proportion of medalists by sending only its most competitive runners, says Martin Goulet, director of endurance programs for the national team. That rankles athletes who have been training for years and who say it contradicts the spirit of the Games. "I have no chance at a medal, but is that the point?" says Howe, 38, who lives and trains in Summit, N.J. "I made the Olympic team. It's just that Canada has...
  • Letter From New Jersey: Filling Every Seat In The

    Not everyone was as overjoyed as my husband and I when we conceived our third child. My mother, for one, thought we were insane: "You already have a healthy girl and boy; why do you need another baby?" My New York City colleagues--living in cramped apartments and paying private-school tuition--were similarly flummoxed: "But where will you put it?"But in the New Jersey suburb where I live, nobody batted an eye. We live in a family-friendly town, where crossing guards watch over kids on their way to and from the excellent public schools. Our house, a rambling Victorian, had a spare bedroom, and we already owned a minivan. Even the swing set in the backyard had space for three swings. So why not fill them all?Out in the leafy land of the Ford Expedition and the McMansion, it seems like hardly anyone has just two kids anymore. A quick scan of my friends and neighbors reveals too many families to count with three kids, at least five with four kids, two with five and the odd few with a...
  • Going Nowhere

    French elementary-school teacher Adele Pesnot had been looking forward to visiting California for months. In December, she and her older sister, Alice, booked a trip for April to take in the sun and (movie) stars of Los Angeles and San Diego. But by February they were beginning to have second thoughts. Worried about the state of Franco-American relations and traveling during the Iraq war, they canceled their U.S. trip, opting to go to Florence instead. "I guess we didn't want to take any chances," says Pesnot. "With all the airports and the distance we'd be traveling, we got nervous. Staying within Europe just seemed a bit more sensible. And with Italy, we don't even have to fly--it's just a train ride away."Never mind renewing that passport or packing the antimalarials. More and more would-be travelers are taking their vacations at--or at least near--home. Exotic holidays to parts unknown suddenly seem frivolous and unnecessarily risky.Weary of war, wary of SARS and terrified of...
  • Raising A Sensitive Man

    When victor Vargas catches his sister, Vicky, gossiping on the phone about his affair with the unpopular "Fat Donna," he tosses the phone--an old rotary-dial model--out the window. It doesn't deter Vicky, who continues maligning her older brother on a cell phone. But it infuriates their grandmother and guardian, who finds the shattered phone on the ground outside. After taping it back together, she padlocks it so Victor, Vicky and their little brother, Nino, cannot use it without her permission. For the restless Latino teenagers in "Raising Victor Vargas," that creates a temporary obstacle to making connections, but by no means a final one.To restore his reputation in their neighborhood on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, 16-year-old Victor (the appealing Victor Rasuk) sets out to woo "Juicy Judy" Ramirez (Judy Marte). At first she coldly rebuffs his macho advances. But after Victor enlists Judy's brother, Carlos, to plead his case (in exchange for introducing him to Vicky), she...
  • 'Get Out Of My Way'

    Stationed aboard the USS Carl Vinson, Lt. Ashley likes to "walk early." In the lingo of Navy aviators, "walking" means suiting up for battle. "I wake up, I breathe, I hit the head, then I walk," she says. Every day she flies, she visualizes the battlefield. "What you see on television is what I see for real." Once her F-14 Tomcat takes off, concentration edges out fear. On her first combat mission this month, she flew over northern Afghanistan at 15,000 feet, looking for her assigned targets: two antiaircraft batteries. After she hit the first one, she says, "they woke up pretty good." Puffs of gray antiaircraft fire streaked up from below. "I was thinking, 'You don't want to hang around here,' but we had another target, so we came around and hit that, too," she says. Flying back to the carrier, Ashley (the Navy allows the use of first names or call signs only), 26, couldn't stop grinning. "I was smiling at the fact that I had done my thing for the country."When U.S. servicewomen...
  • Two Men, A Single Goal

    Just as he'd done thousands of times in the past 31 years, New York Fire Commissioner Thomas Von Essen raced toward the smoke. It was a little before 9 a.m. on Sept. 11, and the North Tower of the World Trade Center was a billowing black cauldron. When he arrived in the lobby of the tower, Von Essen immediately began organizing rescue efforts. Outside, he recalls, glass was shattering and bodies were tumbling from the top floors "with a terrible deafening sound--from the compression, I guess--as they hit the ground." Inside, hundreds of firefighters were charging up the stairs to retrieve people. It would be the last time he would see many of them.At the fire command center set up across the street, Mayor Rudy Giuliani was being briefed by the chiefs. "They wanted us on television and radio to tell people to go into the stairways so that they could be evacuated," Giuliani explained later. Before leaving, he told his chief of staff, "Make sure you get Tommy. He needs to be with...
  • The New New York

    "There are roughly three New Yorks," E. B. White wrote in his slender paean to the city, "Here Is New York": the city of the native, "who accepts its size and its turbulence as natural and inevitable"; the city of the commuter, "devoured by locusts each day and spat out each night," and the city of the immigrant, who "came to New York in quest of something." Of those, White found this last New York--rich with dreams, fueled by striving, promising renewal--to be far and away the greatest. He credited immigrants with creating New York's energy, its lyricism, its soaring achievement and its endless capacity for change. "Commuters give the city its tidal restlessness; natives give it solidity and continuity; but the settlers give it passion," he wrote.That was back in 1949, when people of European descent made up 91 percent of the city's population. Today it is truer than ever, with the newest settlers bringing plenty of salsa and spice along with their passion. It is no coincidence...
  • Punishable By Death

    There are few societies around the world where homosexuals are not persecuted in some way. Namibian President Sam Nujoma regularly calls lesbians and gays "unnatural." Slovakian Justice Minister Jan Carnogursky recently said that gays needed "psychiatric help." But such verbal criticism is mild compared with the strict laws that gays in many countries live with. According to Amnesty International, homosexuals have been jailed in places as varied as Romania, the Caribbean and Malaysia.Islamic countries are the least tolerant of all, and none more so than Saudi Arabia. There, homosexual acts are punishable by a maximum penalty of death. According to Human Rights Watch, six men were executed in Saudi Arabia last July for sodomy. And in April nine men were sentenced to 2,600 lashes each for transvestism and "deviant sexual behavior." The punishment was to be meted out at 15-day intervals over a two-year period. Why? Because that many lashes in a single session would have killed them.
  • Maternity Chic

    You're nine months pregnant, en route to a black-tie affair, and the only thing that fits is a tent. What's a woman to do? Well, if you're actress Annette Bening, model Cindy Crawford or American television journalist Katie Couric, you simply call Lauren Sara, maternity-wear designer extraordinaire. Within days you'll have a smart tuxedo or beaded empire-waist gown that fits perfectly and looks fabulous. "Lauren's clothes are so elegant and comfortable," actress Natasha Richardson, mother of two, has said. "She is really the Armani of the maternity world."Not long ago finding "Armani" and "maternity" in the same sentence was about as likely as pain-free labor. Very pregnant women tended to keep low profiles, comfortably ensconced in their husbands' old work shirts. But maternity clothes are finally coming out of the closet, er, sweat-pants drawer. As more women work in high-profile jobs and keep up their demanding professional and social schedules right up to D-Day, there is a...
  • The Rise Of The Only Child

    On sunny days, elderly women in the working-class Rome neighborhood of Testaccio bring their grandchildren to the local playground to socialize with other kids. Maria Ceccani, watches warily as her 3-year-old grandson, Fabrizio, tussles with a playmate over a dump truck. "He doesn't have any brothers or sisters or cousins," she laments. "We did wrong by having only one child. I keep telling my son to have another, have another." But Ceccani's son and daughter-in-law seem disinclined, no doubt in part because they still live with her. "It used to be that Italian families had lots of kids," says Ceccani. "But now the mothers work and don't have time to have big families. It's a shame." ...

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