Summoning Alice Keppel
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In the four whimsical and compelling tales of British and American history collected in SUMMONING ALICE KEPPEL, acclaimed short story writer Richard Grayson creates an alternative universe where King... More > Edward VII's mistress is worshipped as a goddess; where "Old Tippecanoe," President William Henry Harrison, is upstaged by a minor actor he considers a mere nuisance; where the madness of Cold War Defense Secretary James V. Forrestal has immense weird repercussions for decades; and where a 124-year-old New Jersey man hilariously explains the true story of the building of the Panama Canal.< Less
Moon Over Moldova
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MOON OVER MOLDOVA presents three stories by acclaimed writer Richard Grayson. In "Moon Over Moldova," while a Southern college town is rocked by a gay rights referendum, a grad student... More > finds even a "backward" former Soviet republic a refuge from personal and political turmoil. In "Boys Club," a queercore band's bassist has a crush on the group's insufferably punker-than-thou lead singer. And "Everything But Sympathy" artfully conflates stories about elderly nursing home residents; the real-life power broker and "uncrowned king of Florida," banker Ed Hall; young actors and others dying too young of AIDS; and a thirtysomething teacher's affair with a teenage boy who seems to know a lot more than he does. Publishers Weekly called Richard Grayson's uniquely quirky narratives "lighter and funnier than most gay fiction" and The Sun-Sentinel noted: "Although memorial services for young men seem commonplace in Grayson's fiction, the stories are not tragedies. They are funny, intelligently written and original."< Less
The Boy Who Could Draw Dr. King
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In this collection of autobiographical essays, award-winning short story writer Richard Grayson (WITH HITLER IN NEW YORK, I BRAKE FOR DELMORE SCHWARTZ) contemplates some seminal experiences: selling... More > his teenage drawings of Martin Luther King Jr. from a downtown Brooklyn clothing store in the mid-1960s; watching another well-known African-American minister, Louis Farrakhan, unwittingly play Cupid for his friends; avoiding an overly friendly Kevin Bacon on the streets of their Upper West Side neighborhood in the 1980s; childhood TV watching of such sitcoms as "Amos & Andy," "Beulah" and "The People's Choice"; dodging the Vietnam-era draft and hanging out with LSD-taking hippies in Greenwich Village; and making his 80-year-old Jewish grandmother one of Miami's most glamorous celebrities. These wry, funny, thoughtful pieces use the medium of memoir to explore American history of recent decades and attitudes toward race relations, sexual behavior, and popular culture in an entertainingly offbeat way.< Less
Sixteen Attempts to Justify My Existence
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A boy puts Pepto-Bismol tablets in his socks during gym class with a hated teacher. Two college students wear yarmulkes so they can smoke marijuana in public without being arrested. A car thief... More > thoughtfully returns his victim's overdue books to the Brooklyn Public Library. A teenage boy lists 69 reasons men should date his Aunt Aisha. A governor facing re-election is haunted by his dead mother and his habit of eating sand. In the oddball pieces, fictional or perhaps not, by Richard Grayson, a writer hailed by Publishers Weekly as "a versatile, interesting experimenter," SIXTEEN ATTEMPTS TO JUSTIFY MY EXISTENCE presents an infinite number of reasons to read the work of an author Library Journal called "a born storyteller and standup talker."< Less
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