The World's Strongest Librarian
A Memoir of Tourette's, Faith, Strength, and the Power of FamilyBook - 2013
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.
Baker & Taylor
Traces the public librarian author's inspiring story as a Mormon youth with Tourette's Syndrome who after a sequence of radical and ineffective treatments overcame nightmarish tics through education, military service and strength training.
From the critics
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Librarians come in many stripes, and a 6’7” weight lifter with Tourette Syndrome is just one of them. Raised Mormon in Utah, Josh Hanagarne was a bookish kid who developed uncontrollable tics when he was in elementary school, though it would take him many years to get a proper diagnosis. The World’s Strongest Librarian chronicles the many ways that Tourette Syndrome interrupted his life. It cut short the mission he was expected to serve for his church, dragged out his university career so that it took him ten years to graduate, and kept him from holding down a job for very long. But the book is also a paean to libraries, and an examination of family and faith, as Hanagarne finds his calling, gets married, and comes to question the church in which he was raised.
This non-fiction book is amazing! Hanagame explains what it is like to have Tourette's, and describes his journey of learning to live and control it, while exploring his faith, as well as his place in this world. I learned so much! His humor, and how he uses it to describe painful experiences, is inspiring
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