| The World’s Strongest Librarian: A Memoir of Tourette’s, Faith, Strength, and the Power of Family by Josh Hanagarne
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The World’s Strongest Librarian: A Memoir of Tourette’s, Faith, Strength, and the Power of Family by Josh Hanagarne

An inspiring story of how a Mormon kid with Tourette’s found salvation in books and weight-lifting 

My Review

“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 is monitoring Internet usage on library computers and trying not to notice what you book you loan out from the library, if he is not reading the newest Stephen King after reading the authors whole collection he maybe trying to understand the world we live in, its people, and his relationship with God.

A poignant and heartfelt memoir that has you immersed and a joy to read. His choice of words and sentences make the story flow with ease into an understanding revelation of ones life.

This Librarian will be a memorable character in the mind of the reader, he has widened the understanding of one getting through life with Tourette Syndrome with his passion and love for words, stories, and libraries.

 “Inside the library was order. Information cataloged into rows, authors, titles, columns, shelves, and librarians preferences. Everything had its place. Everything proceeded according to patterns established even before the current crop of ancient librarians began working there. The lights were dim and the atmosphere was the opposite of the manic landscape outside.”


“She learned that, in the broadest sense, Tourette Syndrome affects people in two ways. It either makes them move involuntarily, vocalize involuntarily, or both. These movements or sounds are called “tics.” Motor and vocal tics both have a continuum that can swing pretty freaking far. Mom was both unnerved and incredulous. The book made it sound like Tourette Syndrome was a life sentence of perversion.”


“It’s hard to talk about my mom without making her sound fanatical, because she weighs all decisions against her faith, but nothing is further from the truth. Nobody laughs more than my mom. Nobody is more playful. Or humble. She’s no grim True Believer. There’s a verse in the Book of Mormon that sums her up perfectly: Men (and women) are that they might have joy. Mom didn’t believe that her purpose was to be grave and dour and disapproving of every little thing. Her purpose was to have joy, and nothing was more joyful to her than raising her kids righteously.”


“The tics: While it was true that I could no longer scream, and being in public was easier, I finally had a verification of something I had long suspected—there was a daily intensity quota that must be met. I had to expend a certain amount of energy on tics each day. It could be meted out over many small tics, or a few dozen huge ones. So even though I wasn’t screaming, my body was still trying; it just couldn’t make the noise. If I couldn’t be noisy, I could still be an abomination of motor skills gone amok.”


“I want people to agree with Luis Borges, who said, “I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.” Or Thomas Jefferson, who said, “I cannot live without books.”

Tom Clancy, a writer who has made millions writing sentences like, “But at a time like this, a man had to hold his woman,” still wins my heart by making statements like “The only way to do all the things you’d like is to read.” In Something Wicked This Way Comes, when the kids were investigating the unholy provenance of Darks carnival, who found the origin story? Charles Halloway, the librarian!

Bill Gates said, “I’d be happy if I could think that the role of the library was sustained and even enhanced in the age of the computer.” And here’s Warren Buffett: “If past history was all there was to the game, the richest people would be librarians.”……..To see the value of a library, ignore the adults. Find an inquisitive child who doesn’t have an iPhone yet, take them to the library, and tell them that they can learn anything they want there.”

Reviewed by Lou Pendergrast on 03 August 2013