9781592407873_large_The_World's_Strongest_Librarian (1) Josh Hanagarne loves books and reading. He found his calling as a librarian. He loves his family. He has Tourette Syndrome. He’s incredibly strong. The World’s Strongest Librarian is Josh’s memoir about how all these things fit together. And it’s already a contender for one of my Favorites of 2013.

As Josh describes it, The World’s Strongest Librarian is a “memoir of Tourette’s, faith, strength, and the power of family.” He leaves out of that a voracious love of the written word, but the description is apt. I love to read memoirs that encompass a love of reading, as well as a discussion of (or crisis of) faith, and something unique. This book has all of those. Each chapter has subheadings, and each subheading is prefixed with the appropriate Dewey Decimal number. It’s a bit quirky, sure, but charming, too. In fact, charming and quirky is a good description for both Josh and the book.

Josh recounts his early days and his love of books. He was one of those kids whose father read to him before he was even born. Books weren’t ever not a part of his life. His first crush was Fern from Charlotte’s Web. In fact, Josh’s early life can be classified as “Before Fern” and “After Fern”.

Equally important to the books, though, are Josh’s family and faith, and his Tourette’s (Note: Early in the book, Josh provides an explanation of when to use Tourette and when to use Tourette’s. I have tried to follow his protocol here).  His family is a bit quirky but loving.  He presents his struggle with Tourette’s in a straightforward manner that he saves from being melodramatic.  It still provokes empathy, however, as Josh describes how he at times has little control over what his body does, to the point of injuring himself.  Enter the strength training, and the opportunity it gave Josh to control his body, even if only for the duration of a workout.

So why am I saying this one is a contender for my Favorites list?  I like the subject matter and I like the tone.  I think Josh has been dealt a tricky hand with Tourette’s, but he tells his story with honesty and dignity, without making himself out to be a hero.  He’s naturally curious and willing to explore different avenues to find out what works best for him.  He’s quite authentic. I found his telling of his Mormon mission and his crisis of faith to be very sincere and honest, and representative of a very personal journey for him- one that he recognizes may not be right for everyone.

The love between Josh and his family- both his birth family and the family he has created with his wife Janette, is palpable without being overwrought. But it isn’t just that.  Reading this book made me want to visit my local library. It made me curious about new things. It gave me a new understanding of what life can be like for someone with Tourette Syndrome. And it proves that nothing can completely destroy you if you don’t let it.

The World’s Strongest Librarian is available now. Enjoy this trailer to get you excited to read it. You can also follow any Twitter news about the book through #strengthandbooks and visit Josh’s blog.

I received an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, and I’m so glad I had the chance to read it.  Put it on your reading list now.