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In our pages: From fatherly frustration to bestseller

May 18, 2011 |  1:32 pm


Adam Mansbach's 2-year-old daughter wasn't going to sleep. He was frustrated, and that frustration led him to pen what might be a children's book about bedtime -- if not for the adult language. That book, "Go the F-- to Sleep," is now the No. 1 bestseller on Amazon.com. And it's not even out yet.

In our pages, Susan Carpenter talks to Mansbach about his surprise hit.

It's Mansbach's handling of this inescapable parental reality that has helped propel the book to the No. 1 Amazon spot, but it was after a 10-minute reading the author gave at an art salon in Philadelphia that the book went viral.

The date was April 23, and Mansbach was "eager to get an audience response."

"The cats nestle close to their kitten," he read. "The lambs that lay down with the sheep. You're cozy and warm in your bed my dear. Please go the … to sleep."

With his recitation of each subsequent verse, and screening of illustrator Ricardo Cortes' images behind him, "there was a lot of laughter," said Mansbach, a California Book Award winner for his novel "The End of the Jews" and a fiction professor at Rutgers University who lives in Philadelphia. The crowd of 200 was "hugely enthusiastic."

That enthusiasm -- and swiftly ballooning pre-orders -- led independent publisher Akashic to increase the original print run to a whopping 150,000. And though the book was originally scheduled to hit shelves in October, it has been moved up to June; readers should be able to "Go the F-- to Sleep" by Father's Day.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Image: Book cover of "Go the F-- to Sleep" by Adam Mansbach, illustrated by Ricardo Cortés. Credit: Akashic Books