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Publisher's Summary

Everyone tells stories on dates. Sometimes we tell these stories to make people laugh. Sometimes we tell them to make people think. Sometimes we tell them so we can increase the chances we'll see the other person naked.

Paul Shirley's stories are about an adulthood spent all over the world: living in Spain, playing in the NBA, and having his heart (and spleen) broken. But they're also stories about growing up in small-town Kansas: triumphant spelling bees, catastrophic middle school dances, and a Sex Ed. class taught by his mother.

They're funny stories. They're vulnerable stories. Most of all, they're universal stories, just as the stories we tell on dates should be.

©2017 Paul Shirley (P)2017 Paul Shirley

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  • Story

I never wanted these "Dates" to end

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).

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Uncomfortably close to the truth

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

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The Audio allowed me to laugh at the guy I know!

Where does Stories I Tell on Dates rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

It ranks up there on the top of the heap for me along with The Herion Diaries by Nikki Sixx. Both presented a raw, honest, and unashamed look at their past, making for a powerful book.

Who was your favorite character and why?

My favorite character was the one and only, Paul Shirley, himself!

Have you listened to any of Punch Audio and Paul Shirley ’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I've listened to him more than most, yes. I was his coach at Iowa State and saw about every side of the guy possible.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

When the girl asked for his autograph in the library-----it moved me because I was with him and shared tears with him after out loss to Michigan State. That story will stick to me forever.

Any additional comments?

He not only is an excellent writer, he teaches writing to those moved to do so. I like that!

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Paul is a fantastic storyteller.

By the end of this book you learn a little about Paul but I think you will find that you will have learned a little about yourself as well. A very entertaining book.

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Thoroughly enjoyable and unexpectedly thoughtful memoir

I was pleasantly surprised in just about every way by this book. It’s a collection of good stories, well told. Shirley has a sense of humor, which I expected, but also a literary style, which I did not.

I would recommend it to basketball fans of Paul’s era, but also to anyone who grew up in the 80s, has dealt with anxiety in a high performing way, or just enjoys quality memoir writing.

Someday I would love to listen to his reflections on fatherhood.

The narration was by the deep-voiced author, and it was excellent.

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Paul Shirley reads the audiobook and it really flies by.

It has clever insights from an "innocent(s) abroad", and recalls youth in a way that's uniquely enriching as opposed to the empty-to-all-but-the-author mode I normally find done elsewhere.

You'll laugh on the street, your commute, while you assemble a fake Eames rocker, however it won't be from setup, tick, tick, punchline but something much more refreshing. Every chapter is better than the one before and when people ask what you are laughing about you'll be keen to do a retelling but vexed about where to start.