You’ll notice the format is a bit different than usual. As this is a memoir, some of my review categories don’t really apply.

The World's Strongest Librarian at Quintessentially Bookish

Release Date: May 2nd 2013
Publisher: Gotham
Pages: 291

Lightness of Dust

From the book jacket:

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.

Overall Thoughts:

I’m not usually a big reader of memoirs, but I really enjoyed this one.   I can’t resist a book that largely features a love of reading and, of course, librarianship.  Hanagarne is open about both the good and the bad in his life and he writes about both in such a way that it’s impossible not to like him.  I especially loved when he was writing about his childhood reading and visits to the library.  Everything felt so familiar; parts of it were like reading about myself as a kid.  His stories and thoughts about working in the library were a great mixture of hilarious, sad, and powerful.  If anything, I would have liked more of those.  However, as the strength training is what helped him with his Tourette’s, it is a large part of the book.  It was also a part that I was surprised to find so interesting.

Writing Style:

Hanagarne’s writing benefits from his love of reading.  His book reads quickly, much like fiction, due to the great pacing, plotting, and characterization.  Though his writing isn’t overly flowery or stylistic, he words things in a very appealing way.  I found myself marking favorite lines over and over again.  It was really hard to choose one.


Each chapter starts with a classification listing for the subjects mentioned in the chapter.  It’s a nice touch.

Favorite Line:

But while we may never find specific, actionable solutions, a good library’s existence is a potential step forward for a community. If hate and fear have ignorance at their core, maybe the library can curb their effects, if only by offering ideas and neutrality. It’s a safe place to explore, to meet with other minds, to touch other centuries, religions, races, and learn what you really think about the world…To see the value of a library, ignore adults. Find an inquisitive child who doesn’t have an iPhone yet, take them to the library, and tell them they can learn anything they want there.

Read This If You Like:

Memoirs.  Or, read it if you don’t.  It’s a great starter memoir for those who don’t read or like them.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a review. I did not receive any compensation for this review. All opinions here are my own.

Find Josh Hanagarne online: Goodreads // Amazon // Website

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