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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.
I love a book that takes me out of my world and plants me right into a new world, and teaches me something I didn't know that I needed to know. This book delivers, I'm so glad it was written and that I read it. Laugh out loud funny, poignant and truthful. Can't get much better than that.
42 of 43 people found this review helpful
There have been some great personal memoirs written lately by people who walk amongst us, not rich, famous, or powerful, but simply people who share their lives. In comparison to some autobiographies I've read written by famous people, I have to say that the regular folks who have written their stories have written better books. (Well, with the exception of William Shatner . . . he writes a pretty good memoir)
Josh Hanagame writes gracefully and humbly of his life and sometimes it is painful to be with him as he shares less-than-graceful moments, but other times I burst out laughing, and felt twinges of pride and triumph for him too.
Books give us a chance to squeeze more experiences and thoughts into one lifetime, and I feel enriched by what Josh shared of his life.
The narration by Stephen R. Thorne is perfect - he has a kind voice with a quiet undertone of humanity and humor.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
Where does The World's Strongest Librarian rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?
Near the top! I love books, fitness, and libraries. I knew very little about Tourette's, and Josh has such a hilarious and introspective way of looking at life that I ate this book nearly whole and started recommending it after only half an hour!<br/><br/>Josh was raised Mormon, but wrestled with very real questions about God and his church. he has a very blunt way of describing his faith journey - the highs and the lows - without either preaching or disrespecting it. it added a terrific illuminating aspect to the book.
What about Stephen R. Thorne’s performance did you like?
He was AWESOME! He "became" Josh. he was funny, angry and poignant in the appropriate places. He could even READ IN ALL CAPS! I will most definitely check out more of his books!
Any additional comments?
I hope Josh Hanagarne has another book in him. Many things have changed in his life since the publication of this book, and I hope to read more about his life as a librarian, a weight lifter, a father, a husband... Keep it up, Josh; the world has more to learn from you!
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
What did you like best about this story?
I enjoyed hearing about living with Tourette's from the first person viewpoint. The Mormon aspect added a depth of faith, familial dynamics and introspection that I enjoyed.
27 of 31 people found this review helpful
The author is an interesting person who has had an unusual and fascinating life. His struggle with Tourette's is a big part of the story - at times heartbreaking, at times heartening. Also a revealing account of the struggles of Mormon missionaries as well as Josh's struggle with the Mormon faith.
The narrator was so good I tended to forget he wasn't the author.
A good listen and a nice change from my usual murder mysteries!
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?
Yes, the narrator had a pleasant voice that did not detract from the story. This was a book I looked forward to reading at every opportunity & hated having to pause.
Would you be willing to try another book from Josh Hanagarne? Why or why not?
Yes, he is well read and has a great vocabulary.
Did the narration match the pace of the story?
Yes, I thought so.
If this book were a movie would you go see it?
No. I liked the way it played out n my imagination even though it was baded on real events.
Any additional comments?
Josh H. was diagnosed with Tourette’s in his youth. I felt I should know more about Tourette’s given my training as a nurse. I have always worked in the Ob/gyn area and never encountered a patient with Tourette’s. Josh’s candid explanation from the patient’s perspective was enlightening. I am not an expert, but I think the odds of embarrassing myself if I encountered a Tourette’s patient are much lower. Reading about his faith and growing up as a Mormon added to my interest. I cannot deny I had preconceived notions about the Mormon faith. I learned a lot from Josh’s narrative. He was not preachy, he simply explained the Mormon premise and how they act on it.<br/><br/>Josh’s lifetime love of books was easy for me to understand. As he became a librarian I felt a pang of jealousy. I would love to be around books all day and get paid for it. I know I do not make use of the local library nearly as much as I should. I spend way too much on books when I could be going to library. Librarians are underappreciated.<br/><br/>I can understand if the reasons I found this book interesting may not appeal to others. Perhaps there is some other element that will make others like it for different reasons. <br/><br/>
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
I found the story irresistible because I too have always felt the library to be my second home. As a mental health professional I was also very curious to learn more about Tourette's from a first hand account. As an active Latter-day Saint, I could also identify with his experiences within our faith community and was moved by his honesty and compassion when describing his struggles with family and faith. His style and unique way of organizing his experiences through the Dewey Decimal system was fresh and intriguing. He is a funny guy, whether describing himself or the quirky patrons of the Salt Lake City Public Library.
I gave the narrator only 4 stars because he didn't do his homework in pronouncing the unique Book of Mormon name, "Nephites,' using a short "E" sound rather than the proper long sound. A small mistake but grating and it could have been easily avoided. Other than that, I loved his
voice, pacing and style and felt that Josh could have been telling his own story, without that darned Tourette's, of course!
I recommend this story to anyone who, like Josh, is passionate about the power of books to change lives, and loves a memoir that allows you to really see a life well-lived through the eyes of another very human being,
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
I really enjoyed every aspect of this book. I didn't give it five stars simply because I reserve that rating for my favorite books only -- of which there are only 8-10 out of the 400+ I've read.
I knew little about Touretts, so that was interesting; not much about the LDS church, so I also learned things there; and the writing was often very funny. Most important to me, though, was that every character in this book was someone I wouldn't mind meeting and befriending. Don't hesitate about spending a credit on this book!
7 of 8 people found this review helpful
This is such a wonderful memoir I read it first as a library book and I'm delighted to have it in my audible collection. Josh Hanagarne is 6 foot 7 inches, weighs 260 pounds, was raised Mormon, has extreme tourette's and tells a great story about love, family and more. Stephen R Thorne is an excellent narrator.
15 of 18 people found this review helpful
I save 5 stars for things that completely rock my world and this fell just short, but I would totally recommend it.
5 of 6 people found this review helpful