F**king Sleep at the Library

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“Motherfuckers are e-mailing me from China and shit,” Adam Mansbach said last night at the book launch party for his popular new bedtime story for parents, Go the Fuck to Sleep, held at the New York Public Library.

Mansbach told the audience that due to high demand 400,000 copies have been printed (yesterday was the official release date, moved up from the original October 2011 date). The book is also being translated for release in 20 countries. (Do you know how to say “Go the Fuck to Sleep” in Russian, German, Mandarin, or Spanish?)

A special recording of the book by Werner Herzog was played (humorous, but a little creepy) and comedian/30 Rock actor Judah Friedlander put his own funny spin on the book in a live rendition. In between the readings, NYPL LIVE director Paul Holdengräber led a conversation with Mansbach, illustrator Ricardo Cortés, and Akashic Books publisher and co-founder Johnny Temple on the process of putting the book together.

It all started as a joke with a Facebook status update by Mansbach: “Be on the lookout for my forthcoming book, Go the Fuck to Sleep.” Weeks after that update, he was at work writing verses and putting together a proposal. A sample verse from the book:

The tiger reclines in the simmering jungle.
The sparrow has silenced her cheep.
Fuck your stuffed bear, I’m not getting you shit.
Close your eyes. Cut the crap. Sleep.

Mansbach seems to have a knack for humor laced with profanity; here are some other funny things he said last night:

On dedicating the book to his 3-year-old daughter Vivien, “No kid, no book. I’d still be writing literary fiction like an asshole.”

On Samuel L. Jackson’s recording of the audio book, “His best work since Pulp Fiction.”

He also gave examples of fan e-mails that cross the line, “I just want to fucking murder the shit out of my kids all the time!” and “I’ve got the title for your next book, Shut the Fuck up or I’m Going to Kill You.”


LaToya Jordan is a writer from Brooklyn, New York. She is the author of the poetry chapbook, Thick-Skinned Sugar (Finishing Line Press, 2015) and her work has been listed as notable in Best American Essays 2016. Her writing has appeared in Mobius: The Journal of Social Change, Mom Egg Review, Poets & Writers, The Rumpus, and more. Visit her at latoyajordan.com. More from this author →