November Walking Book Club – World’s Strongest Librarian

worlds strongest librarian Josh Hanagarne

November’s Walking Book Club choice was suggested to me by the gracious Deane Alban of BeBrainFit. We were chatting recently about Walking Book Clubs, passion, purpose and all things brain health related (check out the podcast chat here), and she suggested I check out Josh Hanagarne’s memoir …

The World’s Strongest Librarian: A Memoir of Tourette’s, Faith, Strength, and the Power of Family.

Here is an excerpt from the New Yorker review:

Few professions are as bedevilled by stereotypes as librarianship….

…One of the pleasures of Josh Hanagarne’s new memoir, “The World’s Strongest Librarian,” is the way it destroys this stereotype. Hanagarne, who works at the Salt Lake City Public Library, is six-feet-seven-inches tall and weighs two hundred and sixty pounds. He was raised as a Mormon, has extreme Tourette’s Syndrome (or Tourette Syndrome, as he calls it), and in his spare time trains for strongman competitions.

And from the Boston Globe:

In his unique and engaging memoir, Hanagarne explains what it’s like to live with his Tourette’s, which early on proved resilient to all manner of treatment: “When I have a tic,” he explains, “whether it’s a noise or a movement, it’s similar to the urge to sneeze. There’s a pressure that builds up in my eyes if I want to blink, in my forehead if I want to wrinkle it, in my shoulders if I want to jerk them up toward my ears. . . . Wherever it is, sooner or later, I have to let it out. But the relief doesn’t last long. The pressure might fade, rebuild, and jump out again in a few seconds, a few minutes, or longer.”

You can learn more about the Josh Hanagarne on his website World’s Strongest Librarian – ‘get stronger, get smarter, get better…every day’.

AND, I’m excited to announce that I’ll be interviewing Josh Hanagarne later this month – keep an eye out for that interview in the next couple of weeks.


Update … Walking Book Club Discussion Starters:

  1. Was there a book—or a character in a book—that infatuated you as much as Charlotte’s Web and Fern did Josh?
  2. Could you relate to Josh’s story about sneaking Stephen King novels into the house after his mother banned them? Is it okay to let kids read whatever interests them or should parents impose boundaries?
  3. Josh and I agreed that if we’d been raised in the last 20 years, we can’t pretend we’d be half the readers we are today.  Josh reads a book a day! How do you think that technology has changed the experience of going to a library?
  4. It seems unfair that Josh and Janette’s application to adopt was turned down. How might the screening process be improved?
  5. Do you strength train or practice some form of exercise? Do you find that your body’s fitness affects your brain’s fitness?
  6. I discussed with Josh how open he is about his faith and his questioning of faith.  He wants me to ask you – how compatible is faith and reason?
  7. Josh’s questioning of his faith has impacted on his mother and his relationship with Janette.  Discuss how this makes you feel.
  8. Did you learn anything surprising about Mormonism reading this book?
  9. Does Josh’s success managing his tics inspire you to tackle a challenge of your own?
  10. Josh mentioned that his son is showing the first sign of tics.  As a parent, how would you deal with such a situation?

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