The World's Strongest Librarian
A Book Lover's Adventures
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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.
Publishers Weekly Review
© Publishers Weekly
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!