On the Books June 14: Werner Herzog reads 'Go the F**k to Sleep,' Terry Pratchett defends assisted death, and more
++ German auteur Werner Herzog, director of some very grownup films, is lending his voice to the literary sensation Go the F**k to Sleep, the children’s book sendup for adults by Adam Mansbach. The recorded reading by Herzog will be played at the New York Public Library to coincide with the release of the book (out today). Fans of the popular Youtube series of a Herzog soundalike reading children’s classics like Madeline and Where’s Waldo will be excited to get the real thing — although I suspect even adults might have trouble getting the f**k to sleep after hearing Herzog read.
++ Sir Terry Pratchett, the popular English author of the Discworld fantasy series, defends the BBC2 documentary Choosing to Die, according to the Guardian. In the documentary, the author, 63, travels to the Dignitas clinic in Switzerland to witness Peter Smedley, a millionaire hotelier suffering from motor neurone disease, take a lethal dose of barbiturates. Opponents of assisted death have called the film “science fiction” and “a recipe for elder abuse and also a threat to vulnerable people.” Pratchett responds by saying, “Peter wanted to show the world what was happening and why he was going it. … You can tell in the film that I’m moved. The incongruity of the situation overtakes you. A man has died, and that’s a bad thing. But he wanted to die, that’s a good thing.” According to the Observer, Pratchett, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2008, decided to start the process of ending his own life after making the documentary.
++ Not all children’s authors are rewarded for swearing. Richard Sayegh, author of The Secret Origin of Mirrors, claims he was kicked off of an Atlantic Southeast Airlines flight after a flight attendant overheard him telling a fellow passenger, “What’s taking so f***ing long to close the overhead compartments?” The airline apologizes to Sayegh for the inconvenience, but Sayegh is thinking about suing.
++ Legendary singer-songwriter Carole King has written a memoir entitled A Natural Woman, scheduled to be released by Grand Central Publishing in April 2012. A press release says that the memoir will “chronicle Carole King’s story from her beginnings in Brooklyn through her remarkable success as one of the world’s most acclaimed musical talents, to her present day as a leading performer and activist.”