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

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3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  4,106 ratings  ·  878 reviews
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...more
Hardcover, 291 pages
Published May 2nd 2013 by Gotham
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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...more
Jeanette (Most of My Favorite Authors Are Dead)
If Mitt Romney gave you a bad taste in your mouth about Mormons, let this book be your antidote.
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...more
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...more
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...more
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....more
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...more
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’...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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.
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...more
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...more
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...more
Patricia
I loved this book for many reasons! The author's stories of working in the Salt Lake City public library system rang true with my own library experiences. And he articulates so beautifully the reasons that libraries are important and relevant to society. But more importantly this is a touching and candid memoir of the author's life journey as a man with Tourette Syndrome and how he learned to cope with its effects on his way to being an appreciative husband, concerned and loving father, faithful...more
Dan
Josh has quite the story. He is a librarian at the Salt Lake City Public Library and it was interesting to learn about how he's dealt with Tourette's throughout his life. I got to hear him speak at the Utah Library Association Conference this year and he did an amazing job. I admire his courage and his lifelong love of learning. I would highly recommend this to anyone who who wants to learn more about Tourette's, works in a library, or just loves libraries in general!
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...more
Mariah Overlock
It's very rare that I read a non-fiction book. It's even more rare that I finish it, and rarer still that I actually enjoy something not "otherworldly". Josh Hanagarne's story wasn't at all what I thought it would be when a fellow librarian book-lover recommended it to me. I was hoping it would hold all the secrets to landing a great librarian job to a newly-graduated MLS holder such as myself. I had no idea it would be so much more than that and take me on such a riveting journey. I even less e...more
Edward Sullivan
Josh Hanagarne does not fit any of the stereotypical images of a librarian. Tall enough to tower over most people, he's a weight lifter and throws really heavy stuff competitively. He's also well-read and knowledgeable about many things like most librarians. Josh writes about growing up Mormon, what it's like living with Tourette Syndrome, and his experiences working as a public librarian in Salt Lake City. I could have done without knowing the details of his marital difficulties but most of wha...more
Christine
Josh was six years old, onstage for the first time in the school’s Thanksgiving play when his parents noticed he was acting a little bit strangely. Attributing it to normal six-year-old restlessness his parents didn’t really question it. It wasn’t until he was a 6’7” 20 year-old that he was officially diagnosed with Tourette’s Syndrome. Josh went to numerous doctors and tried everything from Botox injections to paralyze his vocal cords to endless regimes of drug therapy. Nothing really worked to...more
C
FINALLY I get to review this. I've been itching to write this review since I finished the book!

So, a co-worker passed on a galley copy to read. I really enjoyed it; taking it to work to read on breaks and shoving my usual stack of books off to the side so I could devote my time to finishing it.

I like his voice - he comes across grounded/down to earth. There's no pretension, no snobbishness and a genuine passion for reading, books and the library that I identify with and appreciate.

I can't post...more
Connie
This remarkable memoir chronicles the life of Josh Hanagarne, a Mormon librarian in Salt Lake City and a weightlifter, who battles Tourette Syndrome. Hanagarne has a severe form of Tourette's with tics that include blinking, jerking, involuntary shouting, and hitting himself, which made him a target for bullies. He created an identity for this affliction called Misty (for Miss Tourett's) that almost became another character in the book. When medications did not alleviate his symptoms, he tried w...more
Shellie
First the bad so I don't leave that as the final impression. I listened to this on CD's and did not like the reader. He mispronounced Nehpites and Alma. His voice inflections are such that I feel many phrases and thoughts are translates incorrectly. Both of these opinions stem from my being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, I A)know how to correctly pronounce both words and B)believ the reader altered the meaning of the author's feelings and opinions with a mocking sou...more
Meg - A Bookish Affair
In "The World's Strongest Librarian," Josh Hanagarne writes his life story with great candor. Before reading this book, I didn't really know a whole lot about Tourette's Syndrome, which can be very difficult to control and very noticeable to those around you. But this book isn't only about Josh's syndrome and his struggle to live with it. Josh is a pretty cool guy; he's also a librarian and a weight lifter. He defines resilience!

I really love memoirs that are a little bit off the beaten path, wh...more
Catherine Weller
Delightful memoir of a man struggling to master his rebellious body and mind through weight lifting. While Hanagarne's memoir of his life with Tourette's is most certainly inspiring for others with Tourette Syndrome (I learned the usage specifics for Tourette's from his book). But it is also inspiring for those of us in the book trade. Hanagarne's unabashed love and advocacy for the written word is a joy to read. So is his honesty and irreverence.
Emily
The fact that I'm actually taking the time to write a review should tell you how much I loved this book, since I usually just give a star rating and move on. I thought this was a great book. I was initially interested since it is written by a librarian, but I was pleasantly surprised by how engaging it is. It is well written and informative. I learned a lot about Tourette's, Mormonism, and weight training. Hanagarne is a compelling storyteller.
Micah Brunty
This is one of those books that you absolutely can not adequately describe to another person. I have never read an autobiography by someone so damn likable. I wanted to be Josh's friend. But by the time I finished the book, I would have traded that friendship for a conversation with his mom. Great read with great insight on a much overlooked topic.
Kay Schenkel
Really enjoyed this poignant story. Working in a library myself, I really enjoyed the stories of the Salt Lake City Library and really want to visit sometime. This book also is about family, religion - particularly Mormonism and Tourette Syndrome. It's a funny and inspirational read. I recommend it.
Jayme
I guess I'm in the minority here, but this book did not rock my world - it barely shook. There were parts that made me laugh-out-loud and parts that made me sad, but overall I just slogged through this very disjointed book to get to the end.
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“I also work here because I love books, because I'm inveterately curious, and because, like most librarians, I'm not well suited to anything else. As a breed, we're the ultimate generalists. I'll never know everything about anything, but I'll know something about almost everything and that's how I like to live.” 37 likes
“A library is a miracle. A place where you can learn just about anything, for free. A place where your mind can come alive.” 12 likes
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