Video: Werner Herzog Reads 'Go the F*ck to Sleep'

The director puts in a wonderful performance at the New York Public Library

This article is from the archive of our partner .

Adam Mansbach's children's book parody Go the F**k to Sleep has been a runaway hit since a pirated PDF copy went viral last month, hitting just the right note with exasperated parents whose children find any excuse not to doze off. Yesterday, publisher Akashic Books finally released it officially. According to Reuters, the book is already in its fifth printing, with 400,000 copies produced, and advanced sales have hit 100,000. Fox 2000 has already bought the movie rights. But the whole thing started as a joke, Mansbach told reporter Mark Egan.

"After a particularly difficult time putting my two-year-old daughter Vivien to bed, I posted on Facebook ... 'Be on the lookout for my forthcoming childrens book, Go the Fuck to Sleep,'" Mansbach recalls of the unlikely night which changed his professional life. "It was a joke. It was not a book I had any intention of writing at the time." 

We're glad he did, because the book is really funny. One verse reads, "The eagles who soar though the sky are at rest / And the creatures who crawl, run, and creep. / I know you're not thirsty. That's bullshit. Stop lying. / Lie the fuck down, my darling, and sleep." But you know what would make it funnier? Hearing Werner Herzog read it. That's just what a crowd at the New York Public Library got to do last night at the books's official launch event, and fortunately for us, somebody videotaped it.

The official audiobook version won't feature Herzog, but a close runner-up in Samuel L. Jackson, who gives a surprisingly gentle performance compared to most of his roles. Here's an audio recording:


This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.