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

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  11,749 ratings  ·  2,104 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
Hardcover, 291 pages
Published May 2nd 2013 by Avery
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Average rating 3.80  · 
Rating details
 ·  11,749 ratings  ·  2,104 reviews

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Start your review of The World's Strongest Librarian: A Memoir of Tourette's, Faith, Strength, and the Power of Family
Jan 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
Dec 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: best-of-2013
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
Jeanette (Ms. Feisty)
If Mitt Romney gave you a bad taste in your mouth about Mormons, let this book be your antidote.
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
BAM the enigma
Nov 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Audiobook #203

It's refreshing to finally read a book about healthy Mormons, but now I have the broadway show playing in my head
Miriam Downey
Apr 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
David Rubenstein
Jul 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoirs, audiobook
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
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
May 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Kyra Leseberg (Roots & Reads)
Nov 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 04, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
"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
Aug 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
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.
Mar 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Diane Yannick
Jul 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
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
Colin Wright
May 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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.
Feb 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
“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
May 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Diane Barnes
May 03, 2013 rated it liked it
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. ...more
Maria Burnham
Oct 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
May 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Beth Knight
Aug 03, 2013 rated it liked it
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. ...more
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.
Jul 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Jan 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wow! First book of 2020 is one of the best of 2020! Exceptional.
May 25, 2022 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir
I love books that teach me something. The World’s Strongest Librarian, a memoir by John Hanagarne, was enlightening. His narrative revolved around the facts that he has Tourette’s, is an avid reader (so am I), and also a Mormon (not that it mattered in the book). Josh’s story really opened my eyes to this neurological disorder and my compassion grew. I had no idea what it was or how debilitating it could be. It’s an internal battle, just as much as external. Those with this disorder, or any disa ...more
Carol Smith
Jan 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, 2013-favs
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
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