The blogging exploits of former Suns scrub Paul Shirley have been noted far and wide, and now the AP’s James Pritchard weighs in with praise for the Iowa State product’s first proper tome, “Can I Keep My Jersey?: 11 Teams, 5 Countries, and 4 Years in My Life as a Basketball Vagabond”.

“Can I Keep My Jersey?” is an athlete’s mostly humorous, sometimes heart-string-tugging, always interesting journal of the ups and downs of his career, but it’s not necessary for a reader to be a sports fan to enjoy it or appreciate it. Shirley explains details about his sport when he needs to and avoids getting too technical about it the rest of the time.

The book is filled with clever quips and sly observations. While describing a long trip through the Great Plains on a team bus, Shirley, a Kansas native, writes:

“By bus, the Dakotas look a lot like Poland. Flat. And barren. The Canadian army would not have a hard time conquering this part of the world ” if Canada does, in fact, have an army.”

After suffering a debilitating shoulder injury while playing for a team in Spain, he talks about his visit to a doctor’s office for a painful medical procedure called an electromyography, or EMG, which involves inserting needle electrodes into skin tissue:

“I had an EMG on Monday. I recommend that anyone with sadomasochistic tendencies schedule one.”

Though Shirley regularly had better lines in his ESPN and blogs, I’m hopeful that for $24 a pop, Pritchard is merely keeping it clean for the family papes.