Author(s): Josh HanagarneDownload
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.
Some Reviews: 1947 in Goodreads.com
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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