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The World's Strongest Librarian

Cover of The World's Strongest Librarian

The World's Strongest Librarian

A Memoir of Tourette's, Faith, Strength, and the Power of Family

At first glance, Josh Hanagarne seems an improbable librarian. He stands 6'7", competes in strongman contests, and was diagnosed in high school with Tourette's syndrome. But books are his first love—Josh's earliest memories involve fantastic adventures between the pages of Gulliver's Travels and a passionate infatuation with Fern from Charlotte's Web. Everything in Josh's life—from his Mormon upbringing, to finally finding love, to learning to control his tics through lifting—circles back to a close connection with books. Today, Josh is a librarian at the Salt Lake City Public Library, 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, navigate his wavering Mormon faith, spread the word about the wonder of books, and ultimately, find love and create a life worth living.

At first glance, Josh Hanagarne seems an improbable librarian. He stands 6'7", competes in strongman contests, and was diagnosed in high school with Tourette's syndrome. But books are his first love—Josh's earliest memories involve fantastic adventures between the pages of Gulliver's Travels and a passionate infatuation with Fern from Charlotte's Web. Everything in Josh's life—from his Mormon upbringing, to finally finding love, to learning to control his tics through lifting—circles back to a close connection with books. Today, Josh is a librarian at the Salt Lake City Public Library, 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, navigate his wavering Mormon faith, spread the word about the wonder of books, and ultimately, find love and create a life worth living.

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About the Author-
  • Josh Hanagarne believes in curiosity, questions, and strength, and that things are never so bad that they can't improve. He is a librarian at the Salt Lake City Public Library and lives with his wife, Janette, and their son, Max, in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    January 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. Agent: Lisa Dimona.

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