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An inspiring story of how a Mormon kid with Tourette's found salvation in books and weight-lifting. Josh Hanagarne couldn't be invisible if he tried. Although he wouldn't officially be diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome until his freshman year of high school, Josh was six years old and onstage in a school Thanksgiving play when he first began exhibiting symptoms. By the time An inspiring story of how a Mormon kid with Tourette's found salvation in books and weight-lifting. Josh Hanagarne couldn't be invisible if he tried. Although he wouldn't officially be diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome until his freshman year of high school, Josh was six years old and onstage in a school Thanksgiving play when he first began exhibiting symptoms. By the time he was twenty, the young Mormon had reached his towering adult height of 6'7" when — while serving on a mission for the Church of Latter Day Saints — his Tourette's tics escalated to nightmarish levels. Determined to conquer his affliction, Josh underwent everything from quack remedies to lethargy-inducing drug regimes to Botox injections that paralyzed his vocal cords and left him voiceless for three years. Undeterred, Josh persevered to marry and earn a degree in Library Science. At last, an eccentric, autistic strongman — and former Air Force Tech Sergeant and guard at an Iraqi prison — taught Josh how to "throttle" his tics into submission through strength-training. Today, Josh is a librarian in the main branch of Salt Lake City's public library and founder of a popular blog about books and weight lifting—and the proud father of four-year-old Max, who has already started to show his own symptoms of Tourette's. The World's Strongest Librarian illuminates the mysteries of this little-understood disorder, as well as the very different worlds of strongman training and modern libraries. With humor and candor, this unlikely hero traces his journey to overcome his disability — and navigate his wavering Mormon faith — to find love and create a life worth living.


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An inspiring story of how a Mormon kid with Tourette's found salvation in books and weight-lifting. Josh Hanagarne couldn't be invisible if he tried. Although he wouldn't officially be diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome until his freshman year of high school, Josh was six years old and onstage in a school Thanksgiving play when he first began exhibiting symptoms. By the time An inspiring story of how a Mormon kid with Tourette's found salvation in books and weight-lifting. Josh Hanagarne couldn't be invisible if he tried. Although he wouldn't officially be diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome until his freshman year of high school, Josh was six years old and onstage in a school Thanksgiving play when he first began exhibiting symptoms. By the time he was twenty, the young Mormon had reached his towering adult height of 6'7" when — while serving on a mission for the Church of Latter Day Saints — his Tourette's tics escalated to nightmarish levels. Determined to conquer his affliction, Josh underwent everything from quack remedies to lethargy-inducing drug regimes to Botox injections that paralyzed his vocal cords and left him voiceless for three years. Undeterred, Josh persevered to marry and earn a degree in Library Science. At last, an eccentric, autistic strongman — and former Air Force Tech Sergeant and guard at an Iraqi prison — taught Josh how to "throttle" his tics into submission through strength-training. Today, Josh is a librarian in the main branch of Salt Lake City's public library and founder of a popular blog about books and weight lifting—and the proud father of four-year-old Max, who has already started to show his own symptoms of Tourette's. The World's Strongest Librarian illuminates the mysteries of this little-understood disorder, as well as the very different worlds of strongman training and modern libraries. With humor and candor, this unlikely hero traces his journey to overcome his disability — and navigate his wavering Mormon faith — to find love and create a life worth living.

30 review for The World's Strongest Librarian: A Memoir of Tourette's, Faith, Strength, and the Power of Family

  1. 5 out of 5

    Idarah

    This book had been on my radar since its release because the title referenced most of my favorite reading subjects: psychology, neurology, and books about books! Josh is a funny, self-depracating author. I love the hilarious way he relates his childhood on through to his current thirty-five years. He and his family all came to be close friends by the end of the book. Hanagarne was raised as a Mormon, so I kind of figured that the "faith" part of this book would be too preachy, but it never was. I This book had been on my radar since its release because the title referenced most of my favorite reading subjects: psychology, neurology, and books about books! Josh is a funny, self-depracating author. I love the hilarious way he relates his childhood on through to his current thirty-five years. He and his family all came to be close friends by the end of the book. Hanagarne was raised as a Mormon, so I kind of figured that the "faith" part of this book would be too preachy, but it never was. In fact, he explained a lot of things that I'd always wondered about in a matter-of-fact way, allowing the reader to come to his or her own conclusions about the church of LDS. Apart from that, he let you into his world. I have a friend with Tourette's, and I understand that everyone's symptoms can be different, but Josh's daily struggles made my heart just go out to him! Despite these challenges, his love of literature, supportive family, and endurance pushed him to pursue his dream of becoming a librarian. What a feat! I look up to this man! After finishing this book, I had a chance to check out his blog, and he still managed to surprise me by how down to earth and approachable he is. He actually replies to comments on his posts. Wow. Humbling indeed. If you love books about people who love books, and you always root for the underdog, then you just might enjoy this book as much as I did.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Matthew

    3.5 to 4 stars I thought this book had many great moments. I thought this book had some unusual and unconventional moments. But, since Josh Hanagarne has lived a great but also unusual/unconventional life, this should come as no surprise. I love finding memoirs to listen to from people who might be your next-door neighbor. Nothing famous, flashy, or particularly earth shattering about their life; no major awards won, disasters survived, etc. But by just being themselves and sharing their day to day 3.5 to 4 stars I thought this book had many great moments. I thought this book had some unusual and unconventional moments. But, since Josh Hanagarne has lived a great but also unusual/unconventional life, this should come as no surprise. I love finding memoirs to listen to from people who might be your next-door neighbor. Nothing famous, flashy, or particularly earth shattering about their life; no major awards won, disasters survived, etc. But by just being themselves and sharing their day to day they make you realize that your ordinary can easily become extraordinary. The key points about Hanagarne that drive his story: • He is a librarian • He is really into working out with kettlebells • He is Mormon • He has Tourette’s Syndrome As you can probably tell, being a muscle-bound librarian in Utah who tends to make unusual sounds and have uncontrollable tics leads to the unusual and unconventional mentioned above. My first thought was, “how can a person who might be making noises outside of their control work in an environment where you are supposed to stay quiet?” You will have to read to find out! Hanagarne’s adventures though faith found, faith lost, faith found again, love found, love lost, love found again, losing control of his body, regaining control, losing control again are quite a roller coaster ride to bring the reader along. Even if his life is nothing like yours, I think you will learn something about yourself along the way. I know I did.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Robin

    Love love love this! Right now he's talking about going to the bookmobile and getting hooked on Stephen King books--in the fifth grade!--at least until his mother finds out. Update: A well-deserved five stars. Sorry to all of the other books I've read so far this year, but this is my favorite and will most likely remain my favorite book of the year. Josh is a wonderful writer with a huge heart who has overcome a number of issues that would fell many other people. His stories about his wonderful f Love love love this! Right now he's talking about going to the bookmobile and getting hooked on Stephen King books--in the fifth grade!--at least until his mother finds out. Update: A well-deserved five stars. Sorry to all of the other books I've read so far this year, but this is my favorite and will most likely remain my favorite book of the year. Josh is a wonderful writer with a huge heart who has overcome a number of issues that would fell many other people. His stories about his wonderful family, his struggle with Tourette’s (he named it "Misty"), and his ambivalence about his Mormon faith kept me riveted and moved. And how can I not mention his love of books and reading? I adored his stories about his Stephen King obsession (the switching of book jackets so his mom couldn’t tell he was reading King is classic) along with his bookmobile tales (the librarian was a bad representative of the profession!) and the current stories of library events in his home library in Salt Lake City (contrary to what one would think, all patrons of SLCL aren't necessarily clean and well-behaved). "Inspiring" is a word that I think is over-used, but I'm going to use it anyway. Josh is inspiring in every sense of the word. He makes me want to become a better librarian and I want to read many of the books he mentioned. Oh, and I want to work for him.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jeanette (GR isn't sending comment notifications)

    If Mitt Romney gave you a bad taste in your mouth about Mormons, let this book be your antidote.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Carmen

    I asked my friend-in-real-life what he thought of this book. He said, "It was boring." Good thing I ignored him and read this anyway! I loved it. Josh has Tourette's. He is Mormon and growing up in Utah. He loves books. This book is a good place to learn about the Mormon faith, Tourette Syndrome, and librarians. It also taught me a lot about weight-lifting. The best thing about Hanagarne is his wonderful sense of humor. The man is funny. I was laughing out loud. Every chapter is organized by where I asked my friend-in-real-life what he thought of this book. He said, "It was boring." Good thing I ignored him and read this anyway! I loved it. Josh has Tourette's. He is Mormon and growing up in Utah. He loves books. This book is a good place to learn about the Mormon faith, Tourette Syndrome, and librarians. It also taught me a lot about weight-lifting. The best thing about Hanagarne is his wonderful sense of humor. The man is funny. I was laughing out loud. Every chapter is organized by where it would fall in the Dewey Decimal System. He starts out each chapter with a hilarious incident of something that happened while he was working at the reference desk at Salt Lake City. He has to deal with crazy and difficult people all the time. The book is overall very optimistic and also touching. I get sick and tired of reading all these memoirs about whining, and sadness, and awful parents, and other teary, sappy, or boring subjects. This book deals with some very real and traumatic things (Tourette's, miscarriages, crises of the faith, and unemployment). But through it all Hanagarne still manages to be optimistic about the future and keep his sense of humor about things. The opening of the book had me a little nervous. Hanagarne is a big guy (6'7") who can deadlift 600 pounds. And I was like, "Oh, no. This book had better not be a lot of posturing and macho stuff." But it wasn't. I was very pleased. I feel like this review deserves to be fleshed out a bit more, perhaps with some quotes, but I don't have time for that now. It will have to wait for a re-read. I am NOT someone who generally enjoys non-fiction. This was very gripping, engaging, funny, and touching.

  6. 4 out of 5

    David

    From childhood, Josh Hanagarne always had a deep love for books and libraries. He reveres books, and reads incessantly. His favorite author is Mark Twain, which does not put him in good favor with the Mormons, in whose church he was raised. Most importantly in this book, Josh suffers incredibly from Tourette's syndrome. His faith in God is severely tried. His mother tried everything she could think of to alleviate her son's suffering. As an adult, Josh continued to search. He found temporary fixe From childhood, Josh Hanagarne always had a deep love for books and libraries. He reveres books, and reads incessantly. His favorite author is Mark Twain, which does not put him in good favor with the Mormons, in whose church he was raised. Most importantly in this book, Josh suffers incredibly from Tourette's syndrome. His faith in God is severely tried. His mother tried everything she could think of to alleviate her son's suffering. As an adult, Josh continued to search. He found temporary fixes, but nothing permanent. The most useful procedure was breathing exercises, that gave him a year of respite from the terrible disease. Also, he found that strength training was useful for reducing--but not eliminating--symptoms of his disease. The sad tone of the book has many comic interludes, as he describes many of the interactions he has had with library patrons. Well, some of the interactions are comical, while others are just as sad. But thoroughly entertaining. How can one continue to have faith, in the face of terrible suffering? That is what this book is about. Highly recommended. I didn't read this book; I listened to the audiobook, as narrated by Stephen Thorne. He does an excellent job reading the book, and kept my attention throughout.

  7. 4 out of 5

    BAM Endlessly Booked

    Audiobook #203 It's refreshing to finally read a book about healthy Mormons, but now I have the broadway show playing in my head Audiobook #203 It's refreshing to finally read a book about healthy Mormons, but now I have the broadway show playing in my head

  8. 5 out of 5

    Miriam Downey

    Read my full review here: http://mimi-cyberlibrarian.blogspot.c... I can see it now. The librarian is doing her best to hand sell the book, The World's Strongest Librarian.: "Well, it's a memoir by a 6'7" Mormon librarian who lifts weights and has Tourette Syndrome." Uh-huh! That's going to sell it! In the past three years, I have read and blogged about more than 30 memoirs, but reading Josh Hanagarne's inspiring story makes me want to know him, and not just his story. It is my favorite book thu Read my full review here: http://mimi-cyberlibrarian.blogspot.c... I can see it now. The librarian is doing her best to hand sell the book, The World's Strongest Librarian.: "Well, it's a memoir by a 6'7" Mormon librarian who lifts weights and has Tourette Syndrome." Uh-huh! That's going to sell it! In the past three years, I have read and blogged about more than 30 memoirs, but reading Josh Hanagarne's inspiring story makes me want to know him, and not just his story. It is my favorite book thus far this year. I was compelled to read Josh's story (can I call him Josh--I feel like I know him so well) when I noticed the structure of the book. He uses Dewey library classification numbers to outline what he is going to discuss in each chapter. Then he tells a disgustingly humorous incident from his library work followed by narrative from his life story. It is poignant. It is extremely funny. Somehow it all fits together into a splendid whole. My knowledge of Tourette Syndrome is limited. I once had a second grade student who we feared had Tourettes, but he moved on to a special school and we never saw him again. Josh describes his condition thus: "One of the reasons I work here (the library) is because I have extreme Tourette Syndrome. The kind with verbal tics, sometimes loud ones, the kind that draws warning looks. Working in this library is the ultimate test for someone who literally can't sit still. Who can't shush himself. A test of willpower, of patience, and occasionally, of the limits of human absurdity." So as we read along, we learn all about Tourette Syndrome, how it was diagnosed in Josh, and the extreme measures he has developed to cope with it. That in itself is reason to read the book. But the book is not another disease memoir. My knowledge of the Mormon faith is also limited. I learned a great deal about Mormonism from reading about Josh's upbringing, his mission, his wife's faith, and his questions. This I especially appreciated, because I have come to realize that questioning is part of religious belief, and frankly, I like to read about people who don't just blindly follow a religious path. He writes about his questions and the peace he has made with his lack of "religious" faith, although he continues to exhibit a great deal of "spiritual" faith. I didn't know much about bodybuilding and absolutely nothing about kettle bells, which Josh took up to try to alleviate the stress of the Tourette Syndrome. I am all for finding natural ways to alleviate debilities if at all possible, and I was interested in learning about how bodybuilding helped him. I loved the story about his going to work out with a famous bodybuilder in North Dakota. Darkly funny. One thing I do know a lot about is family, and I particularly enjoyed reading about Josh's wonderful family. His gracious understanding of how important family is to him is evident throughout the book, but especially as he struggles with his Mormon faith. Mormons believe that family will be together throughout eternity, and makes his struggle with religion all the more dramatic. Most of all, I know about libraries. I loved all the reasons why Josh became a librarian and why he stays a public librarian. A woman recently told me that her husband doesn't like to go to our wonderful public library because there are so many homeless people there. Josh talks about the reasons why the library serves ALL the population of the community. Some of the stories are hysterically funny and some are thought provoking. My favorite is about how Josh came upon a drunk vomiting in a waste can in the library stacks. He asks if he can help him to the bathroom. The drunk responds, "No. I'm fine here!" I could just see it happening. Another favorite is when he was asked why the books about religion weren't in the fiction section of the library. That was one question I had never thought of. I was reminded again of how librarians are among the greatest spokespeople for freedom of speech. He says, "If you believe censorship is poison, here lies paradise. We have sections on anti-Mormonism, anti-Semitism, anti-anti-Semitism, anti-atheism, anti-god, anti-feminism, pro gay . . . there's something to offend everybody." Josh Hanagarne's story, The World's Strongest Librarian, is totally unique. You have never read this story before. To say that it is inspiring is not to do it justice, because it is complex and utterly human. I could just go on and on. Thank you Josh for telling your story. I have been moved and inspired. One reviewer said, “Everything about this book is big: certainly it is the story of a 6′ 7″ librarian with Tourette’s, but it is also the quest for how we know, how we feel, and how we love… without reservation. I found it impossible to put down; save a day to read this.” Good review in Shelf Awareness: http://www.shelf-awareness.com/max-is... Josh Hanagarne's website: http://worldsstrongestlibrarian.com/ He also has a book club that he runs from his website. This is the video introduction to the book. You can meet Josh Hanagarne here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lnlYO...

  9. 5 out of 5

    Lisa *OwlBeSatReading*

    2017 has been a really stressful year for me so far. I've faced some pretty tough obstacles and at times, have struggled with my health and happiness levels. So, like many of us readers, I get engrossed in books so I can travel around when I feel I can't really go anywhere. To date, Joshs' biography was book number 29 for the year, having given myself the challenge of 52 in total. Among the 29, not one has filled me with as much hope, joy and positivity as this one. Josh Hanagarne has Tourette Sy 2017 has been a really stressful year for me so far. I've faced some pretty tough obstacles and at times, have struggled with my health and happiness levels. So, like many of us readers, I get engrossed in books so I can travel around when I feel I can't really go anywhere. To date, Joshs' biography was book number 29 for the year, having given myself the challenge of 52 in total. Among the 29, not one has filled me with as much hope, joy and positivity as this one. Josh Hanagarne has Tourette Syndrome. He is also a book lover, a librarian and a Mormon. He sure makes a fascinating character! His life has been a tough journey with Misty (his nickname for his condition) at his side continuously, she just interferes with his health and happiness day in, day out, making things you and I take for granted, a constant uphill struggle. Now, Josh is a BIG guy, he's 6'7" and his Tourettes has a huge impact on his life, so in order to try and curb it, or have some sense of control of the daily tics, he turns to weight lifting. Maybe his physical strength can have some positive effect on Misty, so he has some control of his body. Hopefully Misty will then stay quiet and do as she's told! So, with Joshs' faith, family and steely determination, he tries to live a normal life as possible. This is his story, and it's incredibly uplifting. (Pun intended, weights, lifting, see what I did there?!!) I knew I was going to LOVE this after I'd read the contents page and the 9 page introduction. The contents are ingeniously listed chapter by chapter using The Dewey Decimal Classification System. You know, the numbers on the edge of the book spine in libraries, eg: 291.13 Greek Mythology, 808.543 Storytelling. It is fantastic! On libraries...... "The library has a robust collection of what I call, non-cuddly hate lit. This is one of my favourite things about working here: if you believe censorship is poison, here lies paradise. We have sections on anti-Mormonism, anti-Semitism, anti-anti-Semitism, anti-Atheism, anti-God, anti-Feminism, pro-Gay......there's something to offend everyone". "A library is a miracle. A place where you can learn just about anything, for free. A place where your mind can come alive." That's what I love about the library, that's why more people should support their local library, they are amazing places to feed the brain. They're a supermarket for the old grey matter. Some stuff you'll like, some stuff you would abhor, but it's available FREE, and the human brain needs feeding as much as the belly! Get fat on words and education, it's healthy!! Here in the UK, libraries are closing down left, right and centre. It's an area that is always the first to have cuts because not enough people support them. And the government wants to save money, and instead, build an enormous pointless sculpture somewhere. Your library needs you! So going into chapter 2, Josh explains briefly about his Mormon faith, which I found fascinating, I've learnt a great deal about this religion, and it's a bit like Christianity, with a few different twists. (That's how I see it anyway, forgive me if I'm wrong!) Josh is such a funny guy, considering the very tough life he leads, he seems to be able to keep his sense of humour. With the support of an amazing family, his faith, Stephen King and not forgetting the heavy metal band Slayer, he never gives up his battle. Keep calm, play guitar and read horror! On going to church... "It's an interesting experience to watch religious males try to out-righteous one another to catch the eye of the women. (...everyone trying to put the 'stud' into Bible Study") I could go on and on about this book and how it inspired me to start taking regular walks to the library on a sunny day instead of sitting around feeling pretty darn sad. Or how it's got me walking again, in the forests and woodlands of Southern England, appreciating what I do have, instead of dwelling on what I don't. Josh, for those very things, I'd like to say a heartfelt thank you I initially gave this 4 stars, but on writing my review, it deserves full marks. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

  10. 5 out of 5

    Don

    Disclaimer: I was NOT provided an advance review copy of The World's Strongest Librarian from Josh's publicist at Gotham Books, so obviously, they didn’t influence my review. And I’m cheap! Maybe next time Gotham? I befriended Josh on FB a few years ago because of kettlebells. Then I find out he’s a giant librarian with Tourette’s. On top of all that, he’s funny and entertaining. I knew I would buy any book he wrote, even though the first book he writes is a memoir and as a Mormon. I never read m Disclaimer: I was NOT provided an advance review copy of The World's Strongest Librarian from Josh's publicist at Gotham Books, so obviously, they didn’t influence my review. And I’m cheap! Maybe next time Gotham? I befriended Josh on FB a few years ago because of kettlebells. Then I find out he’s a giant librarian with Tourette’s. On top of all that, he’s funny and entertaining. I knew I would buy any book he wrote, even though the first book he writes is a memoir and as a Mormon. I never read memoirs, and I’m not Mormon. I’m glad I bought it. There was a lot in the book I could relate to, such as our heights ending with 7” (if only mine started with 6’!); struggles with difficulties growing up (mine pales in comparison with a moderate/severe hearing loss, but it did affect my social/dating life as well as my academic life); the struggle with the ponderousness of religion vs. a personal relationship with Christ; kettlebells and wanting to get stronger (still working on this last part. Now, I want to find my own Adam, but not Adam himself. That dude is scary!); and lastly infertility (thankfully, only going through this once). I didn’t know about this last one before reading the book. I can understand not using it as part of the promo. Through it all, Josh is very clear about the pain and the struggles, but I did not sense a lot of whining in the book. There wasn’t a single section where I wished he wrote about less. Not being Mormon, it was interesting to get a perspective of the church from somebody who struggled with it. It was also interesting, albeit sometimes difficult to read about his and Janette’s struggles with infertility, since it's something that we struggled with. I wished it had a few less swear words, however some were necessary “evils”; especially his Dad’s hilarious expression for the LDS church. Yep, I've attended more than one of those myself. Having said this, I don't know if I would encourage young kids to read this if you're sheltering them from swearing and teen hormonal angst. I have always wanted to meet Josh, however, after reading this book, I want to meet his wife Janette more. What a wonderful woman to look past the distractions of Tourette’s and see the person underneath. Max is going to be fine if his upbringing is as nearly good as Josh’s was. I have no doubt it will be. I can't wait to see what Josh comes up with next.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kyra Leseberg (Roots & Reads)

    3.5 stars I found a copy of this book at Dollar Tree a couple years ago and tossed it into the buggy (cart?… Trolley? Whatever, I’m from the South: it’s a buggy) on a whim. Fast forward to this week and I grabbed it on a whim as I was heading out the door to wait in my daughter’s school car line. Over the course of a few days, I read about Josh Hanagarne’s life as a librarian and weight-lifter, as well as his faith (and eventual loss of faith) in the LDS church, and his life long battle with Tour 3.5 stars I found a copy of this book at Dollar Tree a couple years ago and tossed it into the buggy (cart?… Trolley? Whatever, I’m from the South: it’s a buggy) on a whim. Fast forward to this week and I grabbed it on a whim as I was heading out the door to wait in my daughter’s school car line. Over the course of a few days, I read about Josh Hanagarne’s life as a librarian and weight-lifter, as well as his faith (and eventual loss of faith) in the LDS church, and his life long battle with Tourette’s. I really enjoyed Hanagarne’s passion about the role of libraries in their communities and loved that he included some of his strange encounters with patrons at the SLC Public Library. His candid descriptions of life with Tourette’s shed light on a condition I knew little about and I appreciated his insight into the LDS faith and how it shaped his life/the role it played in his battle against Tourette’s. Less interesting were the parts about weight-lifting (but the impact it has had on his life is important). All in all, an interesting memoir! For more reviews, visit www.rootsandreads.wordpress.com

  12. 4 out of 5

    Janet

    "You can’t laugh and be afraid at the same time—of anything. If you're laughing, I defy you to be afraid." This is one of my favorite quotes, made by a man who knows funny, Stephen Colbert. I was reminded of it while reading this memoir. Josh Hanagarne has a well developed sense of humor, forged in the crucible of a loving family fond of practical jokes -- and he needs it. Diagnosed with Tourette syndrome at a young age, he faces extra challenges in life. His condition affects his school life, h "You can’t laugh and be afraid at the same time—of anything. If you're laughing, I defy you to be afraid." This is one of my favorite quotes, made by a man who knows funny, Stephen Colbert. I was reminded of it while reading this memoir. Josh Hanagarne has a well developed sense of humor, forged in the crucible of a loving family fond of practical jokes -- and he needs it. Diagnosed with Tourette syndrome at a young age, he faces extra challenges in life. His condition affects his school life, his love life, and his stint as a missionary for his church. He must persevere to find love, to finish his education and establish a career. The incongruity of working as a librarian is not lost on Josh. He writes: "One of the reasons I work here is because I have extreme Tourette’s syndrome. The kind with verbal tics, sometimes loud ones, the kind that draws warning looks. Working in this library is the ultimate test for someone who literally can’t sit still. Who can’t shush himself. A test of willpower, of patience, and occasionally, of the limits of human absurdity." Tourette’s isn’t Josh’s only medical challenge; he and his wife also struggle with the pain of infertility. Josh finds his faith affected by his trials. His honesty in examining their effects on his relationship to God and his church is engaging and moving. Then there’s the weight training. Worried about his son during one of Josh’s lowest points, his father bundled him into the car and took him to the gym. Dad’s instincts are good; Josh finds the focus of weight training helpful for coping with Tourette’s. Josh is intrigued when one day at the library the book The Naked Warrior by Pavel Tsatsouline, aka “The Evil Russian”, crosses his desk. Pavel is a proponent of training with kettlebells (“essentially a cannonball with a handle”) and advertises his methods with such catchy phrases as “Try it if you think you’re so tough. You’ll wish you were dead.” Josh begins spending time on Dragon Door, an online forum centered on training with kettlebells. There he begins corresponding with the “Unbreakable” Adam T. Glass. Glass is a tech sergeant in the Air Force and very strong—he can do things like tear decks of playing cards into four pieces with his bare hands. Josh is fascinated and eventually travels to Minot, North Dakota to meet Glass in person. Glass is very intense. Josh says of him at one point: “When he stares through a windshield, you think it’s going to shatter. I held him responsible for every pothole on the road.” He’s also a keen observer and gifted physical trainer who helps Josh develop strategies for coping with his Tourette’s. Have you ever seen a movie you liked so much that afterwards, when telling friends who haven't seen it why you like it you find yourself practically reenacting it? Saying things like: oh, wait, I can’t believe I almost forgot to tell you about this scene! That’s how I feel about this book. I haven’t even touched on Josh's library life, or what happens when he and his wife try to adopt a baby, or several other key sections. But maybe it’s best if I leave some things for you to discover. I loved this book. It had a lot to say to me about family, love, marriage, faith, libraries, and weight training. I thought it was fitting this book ended with a challenge met with laughter. Here's hoping Stephen Colbert will have Josh on his show when this book is released. Check out Josh Hanagarne’s blog www.worldsstrongestlibrarian.com/

  13. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    I recently read a review of The World's Strongest Librarian: A Memoir of Tourette's, Faith, Strength, and the Power of Family that convinced me that this was the kind of book that I loved. And, on the surface, it really is. A combination of things that fascinate me- libraries and books, faith, and personal experience with something that makes him different, in this case, Tourette Syndrome. I happened to see it on my library shelf shortly thereafter and picked it up. I mentioned recently that I’ I recently read a review of The World's Strongest Librarian: A Memoir of Tourette's, Faith, Strength, and the Power of Family that convinced me that this was the kind of book that I loved. And, on the surface, it really is. A combination of things that fascinate me- libraries and books, faith, and personal experience with something that makes him different, in this case, Tourette Syndrome. I happened to see it on my library shelf shortly thereafter and picked it up. I mentioned recently that I’ve been doing a large portion of my reading on the Nook lately, but I realized there was no point in having all these paper books checked out if I wasn’t going to make the effort to read them so despite reading a truly excellent e-book during the day, I started reading this one at home. Hanagarne has an easy, conversational style. His book started with a blog (doesn’t every memoir?) and that writing style carries over. The book is laid out chronologically, starting with his childhood and continuing on into his marriage and late start career. This is the first thing I’ve really read about Tourette’s. My idea of it was mainly of people yelling out curse words, but of course it’s much more than that. Hanagarne tries to describe what the tics are like, and how debilitating it makes his life, but I am not 100% convinced that he does a good job of it. He spends a page saying that he can’t fill the book with every tic, that we just have to imagine adding on to what he’s already said when he mentions something new. Much of his life in his 20s is lost to the tics, and he enters and withdraws from college a dozen times. His mission trip is cut short because of their severity. He tells us these things, but it’s not very powerful to read them. I feel like his descriptions are a bit lacking, that what he’s said about the tics themselves and their impact on him don’t actually match up. I had a similar response to his writing about faith. Hanagarne is a Mormon. He does an excellent job explaining specific aspects of his faith and what it entails. He writes a very powerful scene about accepting God in college, but then he kind of backs off both in his belief and in his writing about it. When his struggles with Tourette’s and his and his wife’s inability to have a child overwhelm him, he questions God, but only in the mildest of ways. It felt to me like he’s pulling his punches, that he doesn’t want to offend any of his readers, trying to keep both the religious readers and the ones who don’t care to read about religious struggles. By the end he's honest with the reader, and I can see that perhaps the uninspired writing comes from his apathy towards God, but it made for pretty boring reading, for me. As an adult, Hanagarne falls into weight lifting as a method of controlling his tics. He does traditional lifting before moving onto kettleballs and then spends an entire chapter talking about this strange individual who is not a trainer nor doctor nor really a friend who offers opaque advice and waits for Hanagarne to figure it out. Ultimately, he learns that he can control his tics with breathing (until he can't), but the book really bogs down while he’s figuring it out. He could have cut out 90% of the chapter about the other guy and not lost a thing. I find his dedication to the task remarkably impressive, as well as his recall of the process (I’m guessing the blog helps), but he didn’t need to relive entire conversations. As a whole, I found the book to be mild. Mildly interesting, mildly informative, mildly forgettable. That said- I checked out his blog while writing this, and find it to be much more interesting. In fact, it's the first new addition I've made to Feedly, now that Google Reader is gone.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ann

    I can't give this five stars because I don't think I loved it quite as much as my pal Robin B., but I think she would have have cranked the meter up to 6 if it was possible, and we all know everything is relative. I was thinking about this book last week as I sat in the dentist's chair, having a tooth ground down for a new crown. In a failed attempt at chair-side smalltalk, the chirpy hygienist prattled on and on and on about how the whole ordeal must be be especially distressing to me because, a I can't give this five stars because I don't think I loved it quite as much as my pal Robin B., but I think she would have have cranked the meter up to 6 if it was possible, and we all know everything is relative. I was thinking about this book last week as I sat in the dentist's chair, having a tooth ground down for a new crown. In a failed attempt at chair-side smalltalk, the chirpy hygienist prattled on and on and on about how the whole ordeal must be be especially distressing to me because, as a librarian, I must be accustomed to spending my workday in an environment of absolute silence. At a public library. Yeah. Considering the circumstances, I couldn't set her straight. If only I could duct-tape her to a swivel chair and read her choice bits from Harnagarne's book. Librarians everywhere will appreciate the all-too-true descriptions of the joys, sorrows, challenges, and rewards of life on a Public Library's front line. Add to that insights on tackling serious life challenges, and you get a book that will stick with you long after you've finished reading the last page. And it's funny, too.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Janet

    I admit it, I’m shallow and superficial. If I hadn’t been married for over a hundred years I could be the poster child for Match.com. Give me first dates and first dates only – the air humming with fantastic potentialities vs leaden realities. Keep the lights down low because I don’t want to see the row of vitamin bottles lined up along your window sill. Regale me. Josh Hanagarne I would have panted after you through page 9 of your book even if your knuckles scraped the pavement when you walked. I admit it, I’m shallow and superficial. If I hadn’t been married for over a hundred years I could be the poster child for Match.com. Give me first dates and first dates only – the air humming with fantastic potentialities vs leaden realities. Keep the lights down low because I don’t want to see the row of vitamin bottles lined up along your window sill. Regale me. Josh Hanagarne I would have panted after you through page 9 of your book even if your knuckles scraped the pavement when you walked. From the first sentence of your introduction, Today the library was hot, humid, and smelly. It was like working inside a giant pair of glass underpants without any leg holes to escape through., I was smitten. I was a goner when you wrote, A patron recently took exception to a series of throat clearings I couldn’t suppress. As he approached, I put on my customer service smile and readied myself for one of those rare, mind-blowing reference transactions that I hear about from other librarians. Instead this man said, “If you’re going to walk around honking like a royal swan, you don’t belong in the library. I’m going to call security. Somebody needs to teach you a lesson.” I stood up. I’m six feet seven inches tall, and I weigh 260 pounds. “Is it you?” I’m not confrontational, but I don’t lose many staring contests. I’m good at looming when it’s helpful. He walked away. A badass serving the greater good: Earlier today a young woman asked me to help her find a book about how to knit lingerie. This is the sort of question library school recruiters should feature in their dreary Power-Point presentations, not claptrap about how we’re the “stewards of democracy.” They would definitely attract more males to the profession. When I arrived in my library department two years ago, the alpha male was a sixty-six-year-old woman. Excuse me while I unbutton the “iffy” button on my blouse. And then the book starts in earnest and I’m pulled into his life story and coerced into caring. Dare I say it? The set-up was so good that I found myself wishing this had been twisted into a work of fiction rather than a memoir. Think about it: a Mormon librarian with Tourette’s who lifts weights to wrestle his condition into submission – how could you NOT want to read that book? Hanagarne has an immediate engaging writing style but memoir by its very definition is filled with true life events many of which aren’t very interesting unless you’re directly involved. And then there is the burden that comes from having a little understood spectrum disorder as the linchpin which necessitates educating the reader. Sure, the book is peppered with anecdotes but some chapters are akin to being forced to look at someone else's travel photos. But still, definitely a solid 4 stars. Why? Because even without a cape he is the new superhero of the public library set. I’m a MLS degreed bunhead myself so I feel I can comment. When I went to library school the women had more facial hair than the men. The majority were burned out high school teachers looking to retool for a ‘gentler’ career. I enrolled because Liz Stroup, the Seattle City Librarian, paid for me to take the GRE and handed me a couple No. 2 pencils with the test site address. The first day of class I asked my advisor for his advice on how best to juggle school with a full-time job. He looked at me, sighed and said, “Stay out of the student lounge. Those people will just screw with your mind.” On the day I graduated he shook my hand and said “You got your ticket punched. Don’t expect I’ll ever see you set foot in a library again.” He was right but oh, how I do love to read.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Diane Yannick

    Josh Hanagarne, a 6 foot 7 inch 270 pound Mormon librarian in Salt Lake City, wrote a memoir well worth reading. As he shared his struggles with Tourette's, I began to understand the unrelenting stronghold of this disorder. He shared his story with brutal honesty and a sense of humor. He did not shy away from scenes of self-injury and total despair. He was prescribed a wide assortment of meds and even tried injections of a botulism toxin which would paralyze his vocal cords, thus muting his yelp Josh Hanagarne, a 6 foot 7 inch 270 pound Mormon librarian in Salt Lake City, wrote a memoir well worth reading. As he shared his struggles with Tourette's, I began to understand the unrelenting stronghold of this disorder. He shared his story with brutal honesty and a sense of humor. He did not shy away from scenes of self-injury and total despair. He was prescribed a wide assortment of meds and even tried injections of a botulism toxin which would paralyze his vocal cords, thus muting his yelps and shouts. I can't even imagine the desperation that led him to try this "remedy". Eventually, he became a weight lifter, even competing in a Russian Kettleball Tournament. As he got physically stronger, lifting over 350 pounds, he felt that he had more control over his life. Not a magical cure, but a step in the right direction mentally, physically, and medically. Interspersed with this story are his doubts about Mormonism, his marriage and infertility problems, his missionary work,and his daily job as a city librarian. Some of the seedy library patrons and unexpected predicaments were eye opening and changed my perceptions about a librarian's duties. I liked meeting his wife and eventually getting to see him as a quirky, loving father. I understood his theological doubts and desire to serve others. However, I thought that his scope was too broad. I would have preferred more depth and additional anecdotes to flesh out a couple of the themes. That said, this book is full of thought provoking insights. On a personal note, I related to his naming his Tourette tormentor Misty. After I got my first pacemaker, I named her Tilly. Somehow, it humanize what you can't control. I liked the way his dad summed up Mormon theology: "This is the Church of Don't Be A Dick". Josh described his involuntary Tourette's tics as striving to assault him with a "daily intensity quota". He felt that he could sometimes postpone his quota but not significantly lower it. Ok, this might be a little creepy but I sent a FB friend request to Josh. Yes, I find him that interesting.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Colin Wright

    This is easily one of the best pieces of narrative nonfiction I've had the pleasure to read. Seldom do you come across a book that has you laughing out loud and nodding your head in empathy (or outrage — or unease) in equal measure. Josh has taken several subjects that are typically approached with clinical caution (Tourette's, family, religion, libraries) and made them incredibly approachable. Even at its heaviest and most emotional, this book was a page-turner. This is easily one of the best pieces of narrative nonfiction I've had the pleasure to read. Seldom do you come across a book that has you laughing out loud and nodding your head in empathy (or outrage — or unease) in equal measure. Josh has taken several subjects that are typically approached with clinical caution (Tourette's, family, religion, libraries) and made them incredibly approachable. Even at its heaviest and most emotional, this book was a page-turner.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Lou

    “A library is a miracle. A place where you can learn just about anything, for free. A place where your mind can come alive.” This author bares his soul in his memoir, he tells of his life, he is six feet seven inches tall, a librarian that may stand out from many you may have met with. If he is not in a battle at one stage and then coming to terms with his Tourette Syndrome later on in this story of his, he is lifting great weights, kettle-bells while listening to audiobook of Don Quixote, or he i “A library is a miracle. A place where you can learn just about anything, for free. A place where your mind can come alive.” This author bares his soul in his memoir, he tells of his life, he is six feet seven inches tall, a librarian that may stand out from many you may have met with. If he is not in a battle at one stage and then coming to terms with his Tourette Syndrome later on in this story of his, he is lifting great weights, kettle-bells while listening to audiobook of Don Quixote, or he is monitoring Internet usage on library computers and trying not to notice what you book you loan out from the library, if he is not reading the newest Stephen King after reading the authors whole collection he maybe trying to understand the world we live in, its people, and his relationship with God. A poignant and heartfelt memoir that has you immersed and was a joy to read. His choice of words and sentences make the story flow with ease into an understanding revelation of ones life. This Librarian will be a memorable character in the mind of the reader, he has widened the understanding of one getting through life with Tourette Syndrome with his passion and love for words, stories, libraries. ”Inside the library was order. Information cataloged into rows, authors, titles, columns, shelves, and librarians preferences. Everything had its place. Everything proceeded according to patterns established even before the current crop of ancient librarians began working there. The lights were dim and the atmosphere was the opposite of the manic landscape outside.” “She learned that, in the broadest sense, Tourette Syndrome affects people in two ways. It either makes them move involuntarily, vocalize involuntarily, or both. These movements or sounds are called “tics.” Motor and vocal tics both have a continuum that can swing pretty freaking far. Mom was both unnerved and incredulous. The book made it sound like Tourette Syndrome was a life sentence of perversion.” “It’s hard to talk about my mom without making her sound fanatical, because she weighs all decisions against her faith, but nothing is further from the truth. Nobody laughs more than my mom. Nobody is more playful. Or humble. She’s no grim True Believer. There’s a verse in the Book of Mormon that sums her up perfectly: Men (and women) are that they might have joy. Mom didn’t believe that her purpose was to be grave and dour and disapproving of every little thing. Her purpose was to have joy, and nothing was more joyful to her than raising her kids righteously.” “The tics: While it was true that I could no longer scream, and being in public was easier, I finally had a verification of something I had long suspected—there was a daily intensity quota that must be met. I had to expend a certain amount of energy on tics each day. It could be meted out over many small tics, or a few dozen huge ones. So even though I wasn’t screaming, my body was still trying; it just couldn’t make the noise. If I couldn’t be noisy, I could still be an abomination of motor skills gone amok.” “I want people to agree with Luis Borges, who said, “I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.” Or Thomas Jefferson, who said, “I cannot live without books.” Tom Clancy, a writer who has made millions writing sentences like, “But at a time like this, a man had to hold his woman,” still wins my heart by making statements like “The only way to do all the things you’d like is to read.” In Something Wicked This Way Comes, when the kids were investigating the unholy provenance of Darks carnival, who found the origin story? Charles Halloway, the librarian! Bill Gates said, “I’d be happy if I could think that the role of the library was sustained and even enhanced in the age of the computer.” And here’s Warren Buffett: “If past history was all there was to the game, the richest people would be librarians.”……..To see the value of a library, ignore the adults. Find an inquisitive child who doesn’t have an iPhone yet, take them to the library, and tell them that they can learn anything they want there.” Review also @ http://more2read.com/review/the-worlds-strongest-librarian-a-memoir-of-tourettes-faith-strength-and-the-power-of-family-by-josh-hanagarne/

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jenny (Reading Envy)

    I was scrolling through my Audible library and came across a few titles I had downloaded during BOGO sales and never listened to. This was one! Disregard the main title and focus on the subtitle and you will have a better idea of what the book is about. Tourette's, yes. Including how it effects schooling, relationships, and job security. Faith, yes. Overly detailed descriptions of the Mormon church for my tastes particularly considering that by the end he was no longer a believer or active partic I was scrolling through my Audible library and came across a few titles I had downloaded during BOGO sales and never listened to. This was one! Disregard the main title and focus on the subtitle and you will have a better idea of what the book is about. Tourette's, yes. Including how it effects schooling, relationships, and job security. Faith, yes. Overly detailed descriptions of the Mormon church for my tastes particularly considering that by the end he was no longer a believer or active participant. The power of family, yes, although he did end up divorced and a bit tense with his Mom after the rejection of his childhood religion. So maybe the major complaint here is that he wrote about things that were actually ending and changing but the book came out before they finished happening. So the book ends abruptly while his life continues. Perhaps it would have been better to stop earlier in the story or wait longer before writing it, but it was clear that this was pushed forward because of attention his blog was getting, etc. I liked the bits in the library and the parts about books (particularly how those were at odds with faith and family), and would have preferred more about that! And the Tourette's parts were interesting - how frustrating to suffer from such a visible disease that doesn't have a real cure or solution. I understand he is turning his attention to writing fiction these days, and knowing how avid of a reader he is, I think that could be interesting.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Diane Barnes

    This memoir was funny, heartbreaking, informative, (you learn a lot about Tourette's, the Mormon church, libraries, and weightlifting.) Josh is a courageous young man who does his utmost to defeat his demons with help from a loving, supportive family. One's own problems seem insignificant when held up to Josh's. This memoir was funny, heartbreaking, informative, (you learn a lot about Tourette's, the Mormon church, libraries, and weightlifting.) Josh is a courageous young man who does his utmost to defeat his demons with help from a loving, supportive family. One's own problems seem insignificant when held up to Josh's.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Marlene

    Originally published at Reading Reality The first chapter of The World’s Strongest Librarian should be required reading for people who want to become librarians. Especially the ones who have a completely romanticized view of what it is like to actually BE a public librarian on a day-to-day basis. At the end of the chapter, I think they’ll still want to do the job, but they’ll have one hell of a lot better idea of what they’re letting themselves in for. And I laughed myself silly. On the bus. It’s Originally published at Reading Reality The first chapter of The World’s Strongest Librarian should be required reading for people who want to become librarians. Especially the ones who have a completely romanticized view of what it is like to actually BE a public librarian on a day-to-day basis. At the end of the chapter, I think they’ll still want to do the job, but they’ll have one hell of a lot better idea of what they’re letting themselves in for. And I laughed myself silly. On the bus. It’s too bad I wasn’t in the staff room at work. At least, then, I could have shared instead of just sounding like a lunatic. But all professions have their in-jokes, and that’s not what’s at the heart of this book, or Josh’s story. Josh does share his profound love of reading in a way that is joyful. He obviously deeply loves reading, but uses it to escape from a world that has often contained it’s share of difficulties. While his memoir covers his struggle with Tourette Syndrome, I think that a lot of us who have become librarians have, in one way or another, found an escape from something in the pages of books that we have loved. Josh just has a more compelling way of expressing both his love of the books that he is diving into, and the sometimes seemingly overwhelming challenges that he faces, than most of us do. This is a hard book to review. It feels as if I’m reviewing Josh’s life as well as the way he wrote about it, and that seems like a double-whammy. It’s not quite fair. Josh writes in a way that makes the reader empathize with his struggles, even when, occasionally, you aren’t able to 100% understand the pain, only that there is a tremendous amount of it. And, like anyone else writing their own story, one suspects that it was probably even worse than Josh writes it, and he’s none too kind to himself at some points. Although he talks a lot about his physical strength training, it’s Josh’s inner strength that shines through. Reality Rating B+: The strength in Josh’s writing is his sense of humor. His biggest target (no pun intended, he's 6'7") is always himself. He never intentionally aims his wit to laugh AT anyone else. He doesn’t place blame. And without fail, he credits the support of those around him, particularly his parents and his wife. It’s refreshing to read about someone with any kind of difficulty who isn’t playing the “blame game” and who isn’t going overboard in the other direction, claiming that he’s doing everything all by himself. For a reader who isn’t into strength training, the details can be a bit eye-glazing, but I wouldn’t be surprised if some readers find the library details somewhat mind-numbing. And vice-versa. It’s hard to bare your soul as openly and Josh has in this book and make it readable. He writes about seemingly everything; his parents, his doubts about his Mormon faith, his Tourette’s and the problems it causes, his search to find a meaningful career, everything. And he makes the reader want to keep reading. I’m glad that he went into the reasons why he thinks that books and reading are important, and makes an impassioned plea for the future of libraries. For that, I thank him from the bottom of my library-loving heart. But most of all, his is an amazing story. You’ll be glad you read it.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Maria Burnham

    I originally selected this book because it's obviously about being a librarian, something that I can relate to. However, the book is about so much more than that. John Hanagarne recalls memories of his childhood as a boy obsessed with reading who also happens to have Tourette's. In reading this memoir, I learned about the Mormon church, Tourette's syndrome, kettleball training, the daily challenges as a public librarian, and the power of unconditional love. This book made me laugh out loud, main I originally selected this book because it's obviously about being a librarian, something that I can relate to. However, the book is about so much more than that. John Hanagarne recalls memories of his childhood as a boy obsessed with reading who also happens to have Tourette's. In reading this memoir, I learned about the Mormon church, Tourette's syndrome, kettleball training, the daily challenges as a public librarian, and the power of unconditional love. This book made me laugh out loud, mainly in the descriptions of the bizarre scenarios that take place in a large metropolitan public library. But I also loved the formatting of the book--each chapter started with subject heading and Dewey numbers relating to the topic. Although the book covers so many aspects of Josh's life, perhaps the part I loved most is his insight into the power of a library and its place in our democracy. His extraordinary descriptions of the power of books, information and literacy is bound to make any reader's heart fill with joy. If you love books, learning, feel-good stories, libraries, or just want to laugh out loud, this is the book for you. A-mazing!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Dianne

    A 4.5. Funny, charming and heart-warming memoir by a young man with Tourette Syndrome. Josh Hanagarne is born into a close-knit and loving Mormon family (I love the mom and the dad is a real character). When Josh is in first grade, he begins to exhibit the tics associated with Tourette's. As Josh grows up, he struggles with the Tourette's, but also with his faith. Josh intersperses his memoir of growing up with little vignettes from his current job as a librarian at the Salt Lake City Public Libr A 4.5. Funny, charming and heart-warming memoir by a young man with Tourette Syndrome. Josh Hanagarne is born into a close-knit and loving Mormon family (I love the mom and the dad is a real character). When Josh is in first grade, he begins to exhibit the tics associated with Tourette's. As Josh grows up, he struggles with the Tourette's, but also with his faith. Josh intersperses his memoir of growing up with little vignettes from his current job as a librarian at the Salt Lake City Public Library. If you are a library rat like I am, you will get a kick out of these stories and recognize some of the characters he describes. Still, I have a new empathy for librarians in large public libraries. Sheesh! It's hard to narrow down what I liked best about this book but here are some of the highlights for me: 1. Josh unabashedly loves his family - his relationship with his parents, siblings, wife and young son are the backbone of the book. It's not often you find a book where a young man gushes about his parents. 2. Next to his family, Josh loves books and libraries. If you read Will Schwalbe's book "The End of Your Life Book Club" and were caught up in the love affair Will and his mother had with books, you will probably like this book as well. 3. I learned a lot about Mormonism, Tourette's, and weight lifting. Probably the only book EVER where those 3 topics will be combined! 4. The book is funny but in a way totally appropriate to the topics. Lighthearted, never snarky or overly-"jokey." It will leave you with a smile on your face. I really enjoyed this memoir and highly recommend it. I just wish Josh was one of the librarians at MY library!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Beth Knight

    This was almost a 3.5 star book for me. It wasn't as good as I hoping it would be. I really enjoyed the parts where Josh talked about reading and what his days are like working as a librarian, but I had a difficult time connecting with him when he discussed growing up as a Morman and his hobby of weight lifting. I do think Josh is an interesting person, and he's a good writer, but I would have enjoyed the book much more than I did if it was more about books, reading and his career. This was almost a 3.5 star book for me. It wasn't as good as I hoping it would be. I really enjoyed the parts where Josh talked about reading and what his days are like working as a librarian, but I had a difficult time connecting with him when he discussed growing up as a Morman and his hobby of weight lifting. I do think Josh is an interesting person, and he's a good writer, but I would have enjoyed the book much more than I did if it was more about books, reading and his career.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    A quick, fun read. I learned a lot about Tourette Syndrome, Mormons, libraries and weight training. Seems a bit disjointed at times, but worth reading if you should come across it.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Heidi

    Humour, as we all know, is so mystifyingly personal. How many times have I picked up a book declared by friends and professional reviewers to be hilarious, yet had it fail to deliver so much as a hint of a smile? Not sure. Just know it’s happened a lot. So when I picked up Josh Hanagarne’s memoir, I held hope at bay with memories of previous disappointments. Hanagarne, however, had me in the palm of his hand throughout. Not only did I laugh loudly and a lot, I reveled in the language as I learned Humour, as we all know, is so mystifyingly personal. How many times have I picked up a book declared by friends and professional reviewers to be hilarious, yet had it fail to deliver so much as a hint of a smile? Not sure. Just know it’s happened a lot. So when I picked up Josh Hanagarne’s memoir, I held hope at bay with memories of previous disappointments. Hanagarne, however, had me in the palm of his hand throughout. Not only did I laugh loudly and a lot, I reveled in the language as I learned about librarians, Tourette Syndrome, the Mormon religion, desperation, and love. I really think everyone would enjoy this brave, honest, and uplifting story, no matter in what fire your sense of humour was forged. Go ahead. Try to resist smiling if you can.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Gail

    Farrah -- I see you read this! I really really really liked this book. Funny, honest, fascinating, he struggles with his Mormon faith but never trashes it. I loved it so much I looked the author up on wikipedia etc afterwards to get an update since the book was written and I was so sad that he was divorced and tweeted a photo of his new very glamorous wife in a strapless red dress. This would all be fine except that his portrayal of his wife of 15 years? 10? in the book is so remarkable. She lov Farrah -- I see you read this! I really really really liked this book. Funny, honest, fascinating, he struggles with his Mormon faith but never trashes it. I loved it so much I looked the author up on wikipedia etc afterwards to get an update since the book was written and I was so sad that he was divorced and tweeted a photo of his new very glamorous wife in a strapless red dress. This would all be fine except that his portrayal of his wife of 15 years? 10? in the book is so remarkable. She loved and supported him through all his terrible Tourette's challenges, depression, you name it. She always sounded amazing, kind, wonderful, supportive, etc. And in the book when his faith is faltering and hers isn't, she is sad but definitely doesn't want their marriage to end. So yes, I have made a judgement that I don't know is true, that he left his wonderful, sweet, faithful wife and went to Paris with this new woman and married her. (they did go to Paris) So I can still say I loved the book while I read it but felt disillusioned after.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Bibliovoracious

    Wow! First book of 2020 is one of the best of 2020! Exceptional.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Carol Smith

    This is not an easy book to explain to others. It’s about a lifelong love affair with books (something all GoodReaders can relate to) and the humorous travails of librarianship (an automatic homerun for all librarians, myself included). It’s about living with Tourette’s and discovering strength training as a means for managing it. It’s also about family, love, religion, and how one generally makes one’s way through this curious experience called life. Josh Hanagarne’s memoir brings all these thr This is not an easy book to explain to others. It’s about a lifelong love affair with books (something all GoodReaders can relate to) and the humorous travails of librarianship (an automatic homerun for all librarians, myself included). It’s about living with Tourette’s and discovering strength training as a means for managing it. It’s also about family, love, religion, and how one generally makes one’s way through this curious experience called life. Josh Hanagarne’s memoir brings all these threads together in a winning combination of funny anecdotes and gently affirming wisdom. The two are always present together, but the emphasis shifts subtly over the course of his story, from funny to wise. I’ve done a lot of chuckling to self over the past three days, something that drives my spouse insane. Loved this: "It is what it is," I repeated, looking him in the eyes. "No. It isn't. That's stupidity right up there with 'failure is not an option.' Of course it's an option or there wouldn't be any sort of adventure to it, would there? The word 'adventure' means undetermined outcome, did you know that? So failure would have to be an option, right?And this:“The word 'yes' is just a sound. It's nothing without context. It can signal the end of a life, an exultation after a scored basket or a vanquished foe; it can answer questions or refute them; it's an affirmation.”Any book that references Touching the Void (both book and film), Stephen Abram, and every single one of my favorite books as a kid has gotta be great. It is. Disclosure: LibraryLand is a fairly small community. I worked with Josh on a library project back in 2009, but this did not influence my review. I only feel that I've gotten to know him now, by reading his book. And you will feel the same way after reading it. :-)

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sooz

    so i picked this up at my local public library as the 'next in line' once i finished the book i was already engaged in reading. i just meant to check it out - you know ... read the first couple of pages just to get a sense of what i had to look forward to- but three hours later i was completely immersed in The World's Strongest Librarian and had absolutely no interest in reading anything else but it. Josh Hanagarne has a story to tell - he absolutely does - but no more so than a lot of people. w so i picked this up at my local public library as the 'next in line' once i finished the book i was already engaged in reading. i just meant to check it out - you know ... read the first couple of pages just to get a sense of what i had to look forward to- but three hours later i was completely immersed in The World's Strongest Librarian and had absolutely no interest in reading anything else but it. Josh Hanagarne has a story to tell - he absolutely does - but no more so than a lot of people. what makes this book so damn good is his ability to tell his story in a way that is so engaging and real and entertaining. he is just a marvelous story-teller. i read this in two sittings over the course of a weekend. it is pretty easy reading but by no means is it fluff. it is inspiring. it feels honest and real. it is also a lot of fun. oh and he loves books and reading and all us readers love to read about other people who love to read right? talking about everything he gets from books he says: "A mind that no longer questions only fulfills the rudimentary aspects of its function. A mind without wonder is a mere engine, a walking parasympathetic nervous system, seeing without observing, reacting without thinking, a forgotten ghost in a passive machine." yup. that sounds about right.

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