16 September, 2013

The World's Strongest Librarian : A Memoir of Tourette's, Faith, Strength, and the Power of Family by Joshua Hanagarne [Surani, Waitakere Central Library]

Obviously the main reason I selected this book was because of the word 'librarian' in the title!

As I started reading this insanely funny and heartwarming biography, I more or less fell in love with Josh Hanagarne. His writing that is.

Told in his unique voice, Josh starts off with how book-obsessed he was as a child and fell head over heels in love with Fern from E. B. White's Charlotte's Web, and we see his life progress from there. Diagnosed with Tourette's Syndrome at elementary school, he tries to gain control of his tics over the years. Despite many treatments his tics worsen, and many aspects of his life are affected: his girlfriend, his Mormon mission, his college career, countless jobs, his sense of self and, slowly, his faith.

The one thing that eventually provided some relief turned out to be weight-lifting. With encouragement from his father, and the guidance from an eccentric strongman, Josh quickly went from lifting dumbbells and barbells to performing increasingly elaborate feats. Within a few years Josh had turned his hobby into a way of life - and an effective way of managing his Tourette's.

What I loved the best about Josh's story, other than the way he overcame his disorder, are the quirky anecdotes he's included about life as a librarian in Salt Lake City. Every time he recounted a strange incident I imagined a gentle giant of 6'7", looming over the stacks and confronting the strange and weird world of library patrons.

I would recommend this book to anyone who has had to overcome something momentous in their life or to anyone who admires the strength of others!

Title: The World's Strongest Librarian: A Memoir of Tourette's, Faith, Strength, and the Power of Family
Author: Joshua Hanagarne
ISBN: 9781592407873
Published: 2013
Publisher: New York: Gotham Books

 - Surani, Waitakere Central Library Henderson

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