November 17, 2008
I usually make it a point to mention when I finish a book. It’s probably nothing to most people, but it happens so rarely for me, I like to keep track. I’ve mentioned before that I’m not much of a reader. In fact, that post I mentioned that the book I just finished was coming out, Paul Shirley’s Can I Keep My Jersey? A month after that post I finished Moneyball in about a month. A definite record for me, which I forgot all about. A few things got in the way reading Can I Keep My Jersey? Mostly life, and there was another book I read in there, but that one isn’t really worth discussing. So while how good a book is has some part in how long it takes me to finish it, what’s going on in my life really is the dominant factor. I say that because taking forever to finish this one may be a bad sign. It isn’t a bad sign, as I said, other things were going on. I really enjoyed this one.
In case you haven’t heard of Paul Shirley, he’s a basketball player. He’s good enough for it to be his primary occupation. The book, Can I Keep My Jersey?, recounts 4 years of his basketball life as he played for 11 teams in 5 different countries. In fact, that’s the subtitle: 11 Teams, 5 Countries, and 4 Years in My Life as a Basketball Vagabond. He has a lot to say about everyone involved in the game, from players and coaches to management. A lot of interesting commentary about what goes on behind the scenes.
The entire is him recounting his experiences, sort of like a diary or writing home from the road. It’s written in a very familiar way and makes you feel like he’s really letting you get to know him.
It’s really interesting to see how, even though he gets to play basketball for a living, life isn’t perfect. He has to travel the world to find a job. While some places are nice to visit, many places you don’t want to spend more than 20 minutes in. Not every team in the world is based in a wonderful city. Also, not every team has the finances of an NBA team so traveling and lodging on the road is almost always a good time.
I think a common comment about Paul Shirley is that he’s someone you’d want to hang out with. I mean, why not, he played in the NBA and he seems normal. Two things concern me about him: he might complain more that I do, I don’t need complaint encouragement, and we disagree greatly on his musical tastes. I think we could get past that.
He currently does a weekly podcast with his brother called Off Topic with Matt and Paul Shirley.
That’s all for my book report today. Wagers on when the next one will be? I should point out I had some books on CD and an audible account for a few months. So I listened to Born Standing Up by Steve Martin (which I should really talk about soon, it was excellent) and When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris. I’m almost done with Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell and have her newest book, The Wordy Shipmates, loaded on the iPhone and ready to go. I’m also open to suggestions from the crowd.