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The World's Strongest Librarian

A Book Lover's Adventures

This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


A funny and uplifting 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 when he first began exhibiting symptoms. When he was twenty and had reached his towering height of 6’7”, his tics escalated to nightmarish levels. Determined to conquer his affliction, Josh tried countless remedies, with dismal results. At last, an eccentric, autistic strongman taught Josh how to “throttle” his tics into submission using increasingly elaborate feats of strength. What started as a hobby became an entire way of life—and an effective way of managing his disorder.

Today, Josh is a librarian at Salt Lake City’s public library and founder of a popular blog about books and weight lifting—and the proud father of five-year-old Max. Funny and offbeat, The World’s Strongest Librarian traces this unlikely hero as he attempts to overcome his disability, find love, and create a life worth living.

From Publishers Weekly

Jan 28, 2013 – This wildly quirky memoir of facing down his ferocious Tourette s tics follows Hanagarne, the son of a gold miner, from a bookish Mormon upbringing in Moab, Utah, to becoming a six-foot-four kettlebell-lifting librarian in Salt Lake City. First noticed by his well-meaning parents when he was in first grade, Hanagarne s tics and involuntary vocalizations grew steadily worse through adolescence, until the family finally got a diagnosis when the author was in high school, learning about Tourette s dopamine imbalances and the potential for various drugs. He began to see the dreaded condition as a kind of bodily parasite, with a separate identity he called Misty. Playing basketball and the guitar helped the rangy, overtall Hanagarne to deal with his physical itchiness; and after being forced to return early from his mission year in Washington, D.C., at age 19, when the disability nearly incapacitated him, he entered a long, restless spell of dropping out of school, sporadic employment, and periodic weight training. Hanagarne s account manages to be very gag-full and tongue-in-cheek, alternating with highly engaging current segments that take place in the urban library system where he works, besieged by noisy, importunate, rude though mostly grateful patrons. Moreover, the narrative is informed by Hanargarne s deep reading of Stephen King and others, and proves a testament to his changing faith, as he recounts his marriage and his wife s inability to conceive for many years, and their rejection by the Church of the Latter Day Saints for adoption. Reconciled with Tourette s, Hanagarne never let the disease get the upper hand.

Customer Reviews

Absolutely, refreshingly, honest

An excellent commentary on faith and overcoming challenges, expressed with a delightful sense of humor and forthright humility.


Note: I requested this book from NetGalley and received it in exchange for an honest review.

Warning: If you plan to pick up this book, do it when you have nothing schedule for the next day or two. I made the mistake of starting this one at midnight as a “going to bed” book and read until 4 am.

That said, it’s pretty clear that I loved this book. I had heard great things about it on the blogger network but was a little put off by the weightlifting aspect. I knew that I would get around to it and its looming expiration date gave me the push I needed to finally get around to reading it.

Now, of course, I’m asking myself the following: What was I thinking? Why didn’t I pick this up earlier? What is wrong with me for putting this off? Because this book is fantastic. And when I say fantastic, I mean really fantastic.

To sum it up, The World’s Strongest Librarian by Josh Hanagarne is about his own life struggling with his religious beliefs and battling severe Tourette syndrome while towering over everyone else (he’s 6’7″). Oh, and he works in a library, which is a struggle for someone who makes involuntary noises on a regular basis. But far from being clinical or scientific, the book is written in a way that made me feel as if the author were sitting in front of me telling his story. Holding nothing back, we take a life’s journey with Josh, from his Tourette Syndrome interfering with his love life to his doubts about his Mormon faith.

What I love about this book is that it’s so real. Unlike many memoirs, the author doesn’t take care to make his life seem anything other than what it is.  It isn’t painted with doom and gloom, nor is it glossed over and made into a self-help, optimism book. And, while I have no experience with Tourette’s on a personal level, I could relate to Josh. I could relate to his awkwardness and doubt about religion. I could relate to him not getting his college degree until he was older. I could relate to being the oldest of the kids in the family. And, I could relate to his faking confidence in social situations because he was embarrassed about something his body did without his permission.

Ultimately, Josh’s story is about hope, family, determination, and redemption. And it’s fantastic. But don’t take my word for it – read it yourself!

The World's Strongest Librarian
View in iTunes
  • $12.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Biographies & Memoirs
  • Published: May 02, 2013
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Seller: Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
  • Print Length: 304 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings