Regular price: $19.95
Buy Now with 1 Credit
Buy Now for $19.95
If you're preparing yourself for a first date with Paul Shirley, his books make for interesting crib notes. They also prove why he's so well-qualified to write a tell-all: Shirley fields a lot of questions (certain ones, on repeat), and he's awfully good at answering them.
In his latest volume, "Stories I Tell on Dates," the former collegiate and professional basketball player (NBA via Iowa State University) exposes even more of the sizable brains and guts that brought us "Can I Keep My Jersey? 11 Teams, 5 Countries, and 4 Years in My Life as a Basketball Vagabond" in 2007, drawing the reader into his emotional anguish while allowing us to laugh with him when crying has already been exercised as an option.
"I've thrown up in more countries ... than most people from my hometown will ever visit," Shirley cautions in "Stories I Tell on Dates" as he takes the reader (or audiobook listener; this author narrates his own tales) around the world with anecdotes of the life experiences to bring upon him the furrowing of some apparently very overworked brows. Like his description of hometown life on the Kansas plains, time spent reading or hearing Shirley's stories will slip by "like a buckskin canoe in a gurgling creek."
The self-described "scissors in a junk drawer" opines on a range of emotions, from disappointment in the realization he would never attain a childhood goal of becoming an astronaut due to his "arrival at a height far too great for any spacesuit NASA has ever made," to sad reverie following basketball defeat through physical pain and painkillers alike: "Emotional deflation has a weird way of rendering useless most opiates." As he leads us through blush-inducing scenarios familiar to all who've navigated the toils and snares of growing up, Shirley spills every detail with poignant aplomb: "I want (someone to) ... get under some blankets with me, and tell me everything will be OK. This is my secret: I just want someone to tell me it will be OK."
I find this to be the perfect time to also recommend Shirley's first tome, for reasons beyond the clichéd "I laughed, I cried" (though I did truly, honestly chuckle to myself on multiple occasions and douse tears welling up at others). Today's drastically lighter-hearted (though still bass-deep) voice is a welcome contrast from that of his days of, shall we say, globe-trotting: A decade ago, Shirley claimed to be able to "out-sullen nearly anyone;" now he boasts a social media feed colorfully featuring book signings, cartwheels, California smiles and beach-body abs (worth the price of admission, ladies. Just follow paulthenshirtley on Insta and thank me later). This reader finds relief in the happy-sunset denouement of a nice Kansas farm (well, country) boy basking in adulthood rather than being subjected to it. I never wanted these "Dates" to end.
If you're curious about a real-life date with the author, you can both stand in line (his list of romantic interests include Division I basketball and volleyball players, a professional gymnast, at least one Playmate bunny, and the best-looking women in the arenas, restaurants, airports and other stops along his way) as well as take a peek into his writing to help put together that crib sheet: A devourer of novels himself (such as Tolstoy's "War and Peace" over the course of a recent seven months), Shirley is working on drafts of several more books, including one aimed at young adults. I predict readers will be, to borrow a Shirley phrase, "cheering with the sort of fervor usually reserved for 21st century soccer matches and 17th century beheadings." In other words, everything will be more than OK for the Cyclones alum (especially those abs).
Paul Murphy Shirley (PMS ) , is just talented! Real stories we can all relate to that make you laugh out loud. Even NBA and college basketball players had the same feelings and insecurities as mere mortals growing up. .......and he used to watch Doogie Howser MD, so he clearly good judgement. Love your work Paul five stars