Showing posts with label josh hanagarne. Show all posts
Showing posts with label josh hanagarne. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Wondrous Words Wednesday (40)


Welcome back, wordy friends!

Wondrous Words Wednesday is hosted by BermudaOnion each week. It's an opportunity to share new words you've encountered in your reading, or highlight words that you particularly enjoy.

Here are three of my favorite new-to-me words from some of my recent reads.  
All definitions from Dictionary.com.

1. apostasy. "He was, to put it lightly, a disillusioned RKC instructor, well on his way to total apostasy."  (from The World's Strongest Librarian by Josh Hanagarne)  

noun
a total desertion of or departure from one's religion, principles, party, cause, etc.

I knew this was sometimes used as a religious term, but I didn't understand how it fit in this context...now I do!

2. solipsism. "The entire trip takes us nearly an hour, and Jane distracts me from my solipsism by telling me an involved story about her creepy, sexist landlord."  (from Sad Desk Salad by Jessica Grose)

noun
1. (in philosophy) the theory that only the self exists, or can be proved to exist.
2. extreme preoccupation with and indulgence of one's feelings, desires, etc.; egoistic self-absorption.

For some reason, I thought this word meant laziness or sleepiness, just based on the way it sounded.

3. glossolalia. "'You'll hear snatches of speech, but it's pretty minimal.'  'Glossolalia?'"  (from The Uninvited by Liz Jensen)
noun
incomprehensible speech in an imaginary language, sometimes occurring in a trance state, an episode of religious ecstasy, or schizophrenia.

Totally new word for me, and a fun one to pronounce at that!

What are your new words this week?

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Wondrous Words Wednesday (39)


Welcome back, wordy friends!

Wondrous Words Wednesday is hosted by BermudaOnion each week. It's an opportunity to share new words you've encountered in your reading, or highlight words that you particularly enjoy.

Here are three of my favorite new-to-me words from The World's Strongest Librarian by Josh Hanagarne.  
All definitions from Dictionary.com.

1. vassal. "The hoary vassal in the sweater spoke for the first time."  

noun
1. (in the feudal system) a person granted the use of land, in return for rendering homage, fealty, and usually military service or its equivalent to a lord or other superior; feudal tenant.
2. a person holding some similar relation to a superior; a subject, subordinate, follower or retainer.
3. a servant or slave.
adjective
1. of, pertaining to, or characteristic of a vassal.
2. having the status or position of a vassal.

I knew the first definition of this word from my high school social studies classes, but I guess I never considered that its meaning could be used in a more modern way as well..

2. disquisition. "An elderly gentleman in green pants raised his hand, stood, and offered a ten-minute disquisition on event-controlled versus time-controlled traffic lights..."

noun
a formal discourse or treatise in which a subject is examined and discussed; dissertation.

I guessed this one from the context, but was still glad to look up the definition, since I don't think I've heard it used before.

3. ephemera. "Full runs of ephemera from The New York Times to the original Black Panther newsletters."
noun
items designed to be useful or important for only a short time, especially pamphlets, notices, tickets, etc.

I've heard this word a million times but didn't know the definition.  And now I know that I, keeper of every ticket stub, birthday card, etc., am a total hoarder of ephemera!!

What are your new words this week?

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Wondrous Words Wednesday (38)


Welcome back, wordy friends!

Wondrous Words Wednesday is hosted by BermudaOnion each week. It's an opportunity to share new words you've encountered in your reading, or highlight words that you particularly enjoy.

Here are three of my favorite new-to-me words from some of my recent reads.  
All definitions from Dictionary.com.

1. soigné. "Where had these soigné children come from?"  (from Mama's Child by Joan Steinau Lester)  

adjective
1. carefully or elegantly done, operated, or designed.
2. well-groomed.

I love finding cool French words to use in everyday English.  This is one that I think would be pretty easy to drop into conversation.

2. inveterately (inveterate). "I also work here because I love books, because I'm inveterately curious, and because, like most librarians, I'm not well suited to anything else."  (from The World's Strongest Librarian by Josh Hanagarne)

adverb (adjective)
1. settled or confirmed in a habit, practice, feeling, or the like: an inveterate gambler.
2. firmly established by long continuance, as a disease, habit, practice, feeling, etc.: chronic.

This is one of those words that I've heard many times before, but never knew the exact definition.

3. hoary. "The hoary vassal in the sweater spoke for the first time."  (from The World's Strongest Librarian by Josh Hanagarne)
adjective
1. gray or white with age: an old dog with a hoary muzzle.
2. ancient or venerable: hoary myths.
3. tedious from familiarity; stale: Please don't tell that hoary joke at dinner again tonight.

Well, I was completely thrown off by this, because when I heard "hoary" all I could think of was "hoar frost", which means something entirely different.  (Stay tuned for next week when I tell you what 'vassal' means!)

What are your new words this week?

Thursday, May 2, 2013

April Showers Bring May Awesomes. (April 2013 in Review)


So April was a pretty awesome month.  Mostly because of the weather.  My pasty-pale self is now becoming pasty-pale with a scattering of freckles, which must mean the sun has arrived in Upstate New York.  If only all my freckles would meld together, I would be blessed with the most luscious tan.  Ah, the life of a ginger.

Also, my lil (not so lil anymore) brother got engaged this month!  I am wicked excited for him and his fiancee (who has received the Big Sister Seal of Approval).  Let the wedding plans begin!

As per usual in my monthly recaps, I will also grace you with a photo of Sir Small Fry.  He was very serious about his outdoor play time this month:
Obviously Mother has done something for which she should feel ashamed.
Now, enough about me, onward to the book-related goodness!  Apparently the warm weather led to less reading and more outdoor time, because my reading/posting pace was a little slower.

The April 2013 Fave/Least Fave choices were difficult, and honestly, my "least" fave shouldn't be read as being a "bad" book...it's just the one I gave the lowest rating to on Goodreads (a 3-star, by the way).

March 2013 Favorite: How Green Was My Valley by Richard Llewellyn
March 2013 Least Favorite: The Sex Lives of Cannibals by J Maarten Troost

In total, I read/reviewed 6 books:
How Green Was My Valley by Richard Llewellyn
Found Objects by Peter Gelfan
Yes, Chef by Marcus Samuelsson
The World's Strongest Librarian by Josh Hanagarne
Weelicious by Catherine McCord
The Sex Lives of Cannibals by J Maarten Troost

I also posted one new Small Fry Saturday Review of Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox and Helen Oxenbury.

In other book talk, I was one of the first features on Book Bloggers International, we took a trip down my college-era memory lane, and I told you all the topics that, if melted together, would create my ultimate read.

May is going to be a busy month around here--we're getting a new roof put on today, and Small Fry is getting ear tubes inserted tomorrow, so already we're off with a bang.  But May is also my engagement anniversary (awww).  And, let's not forget that Mother's Day is coming up.  YOU'RE ON NOTICE, HUSBAND.  Fine jewels and massages as far as the eye can see!  (Or at least the ability to sleep past 6am.)

Have a great month!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Book Review: The World's Strongest Librarian by Josh Hanagarne



Title: The World's Strongest Librarian
Author: Josh Hanagarne
Publisher: Gotham Books
Publication Date: May 2, 2013
Source: e-ARC received from publisher for an honest review

Plot Summary from Goodreads:

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.


My Review:

What's the recipe for an immediately intriguing book description?  As the lovely Jen pointed out, it's a memoir that includes libraries, Tourette Syndrome, weightlifting, and Mormonism.  Readers, it does not get more unique than that.  Color me interested.

Josh Hanagarne has a one-of-a-kind story, and he knows how to tell it.  Each chapter begins with an interesting (and often hilarious) anectode about his time as a librarian with the Salt Lake City Public Library.  His stories will have you alternately astounded (at the crazy things people will do in a public place) and sad (at the unfortunate circumstances that often lead people there).

 (And before I go further, have you ever SEEN this library?  Feast your eyes on this amazingness:
HOLD THE PHONE.  It's like Book Nirvana up in hurrr.
I was in Salt Lake City for a trip 2.5 years ago, and I am TOTALLY BUMMED that I did not know about this place then.)

Okay, bookish drooling time is over.  Onward!

After each library anecdote, Josh (yes, we're on a first name basis...the tone of his novel makes me feel that way, and I'm okay with it) recounts part of his personal journey, from early childhood through the present.  Most notable was his ability to delve so deeply into powerful reservoirs of frustration and grief, while also managing to keep a laugh-out-loud sense of humor.  I know, I sound like a cheesy movie tagline ("You'll laugh!  You'll cry!"), but it's TRUE.  There were several times, in the midst of a very serious part of the story, when I encountered an unexpected joke or one-liner that left me giggling through the tears.  If anything, this makes Josh's story that much more inspiring.  He always sees some fun in life, even when it's trying to get him down.

This is not just a memoir about Tourette's.  The affliction obviously affects all areas of his life, but his ability to describe his other conflicts and doubts was equally impressive.  I was particularly moved by his description of his struggles as a teenager--all of the emotions that are wrapped up in maturing (mentally and physically), first dates, etc.  In this way, Hanagarne crafts a story that has a universal message for everyone.  I don't have Tourette's, I'm not a Mormon, I'm not a 6+ foot-tall weightlifter.  But I still found myself relating to pieces of his life as it was unveiled.

The only part of Josh's story that I would have loved to hear more about was his wife's pregnancy with Max.  They went through years of infertility, and I was completely absorbed in this part of his story--he writes it with heartbreaking emotion, and I think a lot of couples will find both common ground and solace in it.  However, once his wife got pregnant, the story suddenly jumped to Max's birth and childhood.  After hearing so much about their infertility struggles, I guess I was left wanting to experience the pregnancy with them as well.  Maybe that's just me being a sappy girl, but it was the only point in the memoir where I felt like I wanted a little more.

As I read the last word of this memoir, all I could do was close my eyes like a happy, contented reader and think, "Yes."  It wraps up at a perfect point, in a way that leaves you feeling both curious and hopeful.

I can't recommend this book enough.  Josh Hanagarne has a poignant and humorous way of relating his story that makes it reachable for any reader.  I learned a lot, I laughed a lot, and I was rooting for him at every turn.  I know I'm on a memoir kick this week, but trust me--if you're in the market for one, this is an awesome pick!

Other reviews of The World's Strongest Librarian:
The Relentless Reader
As The Page Turns
Bookin' It

Have you read any great memoirs lately?

Monday, April 8, 2013

Whatcha readin'?

Did you get any good reading done this weekend, friends?


The husband, Small Fry, and I had a nice relaxing weekend at home.  Hubs and I finally watched Argo on Friday night, which was awesome.  And then we watched Syracuse lose on Saturday night, which was EXTRA AWESOME.  (UConn may not be tourney-eligible this year, but that doesn't mean my disdain for Duke and Syracuse has waned.)

The temperature continues to slowly chug its way upwards, so we spent a good amount of time outside.  All fun, except for when Small Fry took a big digger in the driveway.  Now he's got a nice case of road rash on his face.  Ah, the life of a toddler boy.  I told him to tell all his friends that he got in a fight with a 3-year-old.  You can't start the street cred too early.

Between all that and playing way too much Candy Crush (that game WILL be the end of me), I did get a good amount of reading done, finishing up Found Objects by Peter Gelfan (review to come tomorrow!). 

As for what I'm reading now:

Yes, Chef by Marcus Samuelsson

It begins with a simple ritual: Every Saturday afternoon, a boy who loves to cook walks to his grandmother’s house and helps her prepare a roast chicken for dinner. The grandmother is Swedish, a retired domestic. The boy is Ethiopian and adopted, and he will grow up to become the world-renowned chef Marcus Samuelsson. This book is his love letter to food and family in all its manifestations. (from Goodreads)

Yes, I am finally reading one of the food books I got from the library!!  I have been dying to read Samuelsson's memoir (released a few months ago).  I adore many of the Food Network stars, including Samuelsson, and I've heard that his road to food glory was a unique one.  I just started this, can't wait to share with all of you.

The World's Strongest Librarian by Josh Hanagarne

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.

The World’s Strongest Librarian illuminates the mysteries of this little-understood disorder, as well as the very different worlds of strongman training and modern libraries. With humor and candor, this unlikely hero traces his journey to overcome his disability— and navigate his wavering Mormon faith—to find love and create a life worth living.
(from
Goodreads)

Just starting this interesting memoir as well!  I have an ARC from NetGalley that I couldn't resist, because Hanagarne's story sounds so intriguing.  The book is released next month, and I've already heard a lot of great reviews.

Don't Go by Lisa Scottoline

When Dr. Mike Scanlon is called to serve as an army doctor in Afghanistan, he’s acutely aware of the dangers he’ll face and the hardships it will cause his wife Chloe and newborn baby. And deep inside, he doesn’t think of himself as a warrior, but a healer.

However, in an ironic turn of events, as Mike operates on a wounded soldier in a war-torn country, Chloe dies at home in the suburbs, in an apparent household accident. Devastated, he returns home to bury her, only to discover that the life he left behind has fallen apart. His medical practice is in jeopardy, and he is a complete stranger to the only family he has left - his precious baby girl. Worse, he learns a shocking secret that sends him into a downward spiral.

Ultimately, Mike realizes that the most important battle of his life faces him on the home front and he’ll have to put it all on the line to save what’s dearest to him – his family.
(from
Goodreads)

This is my current audiobook.  I had a somewhat lukewarm reaction to my first Lisa Scottoline read last year (Look Again), but I do think she comes up with twisty, unexpected plots, so I decided to give this one a shot.  It's definitely keeping my interest so far as I try to figure out what happened to Chloe, and how Mike is going to work through it.  Kind of a women's fiction novel from a man's POV, which is cool.

What will be coming up next? 
My two top contenders for my next read: Frozen In Time by Mitchell Zuckoff, and The Honest Toddler: A Child's Guide to Parenting by Bunmi Laditan.  Words cannot do justice to how FREAKIN' STOKED I am about that book.  Review coming soon!
 
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