Audiobook Review: The World’s Strongest Librarian

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

by Josh Hanagarne, read by Stephan R. Thorne




Josh Hanagarne first exhibited symptoms of Tourette’s Syndrome at age 6.  His memoir tells the story of how he manages his Tourette’s, his faith , and his family.  He found weight training to be hugely helpful in managing his symptoms.  He started a blog simply to keep track of his workouts.  He began adding stories about his daily life and those stories grew his audience far behind the weight lifting community.

This was such a fascinating book. I learned about one case of Tourette’s in a most detailed way. While no two people have the same experience I feel that hearing Josh’s account has helped me to grasp what it can be like. I enjoyed the dewey decimal-inspired epigraphs that start each chapter They give a little hint at what’s coming next. The stories of his day-to-day life as a librarian and a quirky nature to the book even in its most solemn chapters. Josh is a great storyteller, as evidenced by this interview at the Hartford Public Library.
I particularly liked Chapter 10 in which the author expounds on the wonder of the public library. Libraries have always been a huge part of my life and I credit them with my early literacy success. He gives many reasons why libraries are evolving and growing. They are still a vital part of the communities they serve.

On a side note, great narrator!


Source:  Audiobook download from the public library

Audience:  adults, mature teens


Book Review: The Yelp


The Yelp:  A Heartbreak in Reviews

by Chase Compton

So you meet the love of your life and he is perfect in every way.  You take him to all of your favorite places to eat and drink all your favorite things.  You find new places together and make incredible memories there.

And then, the relationship fails.  When you lose this lover, do you lose all of those wonderful places?  When you can’t stand to talk about it and your friends can’t stand to listen to you, what can you do?

If you are Chase Compton you chronicle the entire story in a series of reviews on Yelp.

This memoir is a fascinating look at city life, love, and healing.

Source:  ARC from publisher

The Illustrated Book of Sayings by Ella Frances Sanders


This is a fun little book with clever illustrations.  If you’ve ever wondered where a popular saying got started you are likely to find your answer here.  It’s a neat mix of serious reference information and funny asides.   I read this as an ebook but I think I would prefer a printed copy.

My favorite saying:  “to give a green answer to a blue question.”  Perfect for an election year.


Source:  ARC from publisher

Date finished:  April 23, 2016

Audience:  All ages, at least teens and up

Review: Missed Connections: Love, Lost and Found by Sophie Blackall





What a clever, sweet, funny quirky book!  The author uses real “Missed Connections” posts fro Craigslist to inspire illustrations  that show her talent and style.

Be sure to read the author’s introduction before you fly through the short texts and pore of the detailed drawings.  I had lots of favorites, including this gem

“You came to my tea shop.  You had the best  eyelashes and were a handsome devil. Wish I would have asked you out. Ha!”

I’m not sure how to categorize this.  Graphic, but not a novel.  Non fiction, but pretty unreal.

Source:  Public Library

Audience:  Adults, and fine for teens too


Book Review: The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson



Jon Ronson jumps right into his field of interest- how do we define a psychopath?  It turns out, there’s a checklist to follow.  You can find that list online.  I find this a bit strange.  Do people take tests like this to identify themselves?  Or do they apply the questions to others?  Creepy

This book was both interesting and amusing  The author really inserts himself into the story- something I like in a nonfiction text.  It moves the text beyond informational and into experiential.  Ronson meets the author of the test, Dr. Robert Hare and gets “trained” to apply the test.  And then he applies it everywhere.

Check out the author’s TED talk here.


I read this book for my Read Harder Challenge task:  Read a nonfiction book about science.


Source:  Public Library

Audience:  Adults

Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling


I gave this audio book high marks because I would read it, or listen to it, again. This collection of essays is funny and compelling.  Many celebrity memoirs have a rambling sections, a sense that the subject is struggling to fill the pages.  Happily, that is not the case with this collection.  Yes it is a memoir, but it’s also a collection of Mindy’s ideas about comedy, working, and Hollywood.


Source:  public library audiobook downloaded to my phone for FREE!

Audience:  adults

We Should All Be Femininsts by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie


This very short book gave me quite a bit to think about. It is a printed copy of the author’s TED talk from April 12, 2013.
I’ve read the book and listened to the talk and I highly recommend them both.  I find it very interesting (and pleasing) to hear that this book has been given t o every 16 year old in Sweeden.
Source:  Public Library
Audience:  Age 16 and up

Stonewall by Ann Bausum



I chose this book for my Read Harder Challenge task: Read a book about politics in this country or another. One thing I like about this year’s challenge is that it is encouraging me to learn about things I only have a surface understanding of. I had heard of Stonewall, but I didn’t really grasp the importance of the riotous weekend or the events that led up to and followed it.

I found this book to be well written and engaging. the descriptions of the people,events and places helped me to visualize what was going and on and the political background helped me to understand the importance of the events.


Source:  ebook from the public library

Audience:  high school and up

Troublemaker by Leah Remini


I’ve been fascinated with Scientology lately, having seen an number of articles in the news about the group.  I liked this first person account of the Scientology experience.  I think first person accounts are important, so I won’t retell any of Leah’s story – you really need to experience her words directly.

Like many celebrity memoirs, the book is too wordy in places and compelling in others.  While I don’t think I have a complete picture of the group the book has certainly encouraged me to continue read and learning about it.


Source:  Public Library

Audience:  High School and Up, but mostly adults.

Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson


Stop what you are doing right now and go check out The Bloggess.  I’ll wait.

Seriously, how long did you spend on that awesome site?  I don’t do twitter, but if I did I would follow Jenny Lawless.    Read this hysterical feed.

Don’t get lost on Buzzfeed while you are there.  Come back!

Thank you Jenny Lawson. You made me laugh, cry and sit in the driveway listening to one more chapter. I really wish I had found your books before your tour ended.  I would have gone to see you, and maybe tried to find a taxidermied  (I know that is a word.  Go away spell check!) animal to wave at you with.  I love that you love yourself and that you share your struggle in such detail  It’s time to take the stigma away from mental illness and book and blogs like yours will do a lot to move us forward.

I highly recommend this as an audiobook. The author read her story at just the right inflection with a great sense of timing.
 Source:  digital audiobook from my fabulous public library, downloaded to my fancy new phone.
Audience:  adults, mature teens, people who like to laugh, anybody having a hard tim getting through the day