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Arnold Schwarzenegger Signs Copies Of 'Total Recall' In New York, Mostly Talks Bodybuilding

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Arnold Schwarzenegger poses with a cardboard cutout of himself as he signed copies of his new book, "Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story," in New York City on Monday. | Lucas Kavner

NEW YORK -- A line snaked around the corner of independent bookstore McNally Jackson in New York's Soho neighborhood on Monday as people waited to meet the man who LA Weekly once called "the most famous immigrant in America."

"Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story," Arnold Schwarzenegger's new memoir, was released on Monday, and the store had a scant 162 copies for a book-signing hastily announced via Schwarzenegger's Twitter feed earlier in the day.

Many of his biggest fans were on hand, already clutching copies of the book. Frank Anthony, a student, waited in line for three hours to see Schwarzenegger.

"The first R-rated movie I ever saw was 'Terminator 2,' when I was 8 years old," Anthony said.

Anthony said his opinion of Schwarzenegger hasn't changed as a result of recent revelations about the former California governor's personal life -- including the unearthed affair with his housekeeper, which culminated in a secret child and the dissolution of his marriage with Maria Shriver.

"It's more the bodybuilding and the movies," Anthony said.

Lou DiMasi, owner of a barber shop in Staten Island, was one of the many weightlifters in line. His father had gotten him into bodybuilding when he was a kid, DiMasi said, and he had remained a fan.

"I work out five or six days a week," DiMasi said. "Even today, I got a hamstring injury from trying to go too heavy, so I made my way into the city and hobbled in here. Maybe I'll ask him about calf development, because my calves are tiny. Bad genes."

The crowd was overwhelmingly male, with the occasional female tourist peppered in. Malin Lagarquist, who recently moved from Sweden to New York City, was practically forced to attend the event by her brother. She said she planned to send her signed copy of the book to him.

"My brother called and texted me from Sweden a million times today, telling me about this," Lagarquist said. "He's a huge fan, really into the fitness and bodybuilding, so he's a huge fan. I don't really know much about him."

When Schwarzenegger arrived, the crowd beefed up considerably. His team had a strict "no questions" rule and Schwarzenegger quickly strolled in, posed for a few photos next to a classic flexing cutout of himself, and began to sign.

If anyone did speak or ask a question, it was never about politics, or his affair. The closest he came to addressing that was when one female fan shouted, "Are you going to get back with Maria?"

"I'm working on it!" Schwarzenegger answered with a smile.

In the memoir, Schwarzenegger addresses the affair -- as well as others from earlier in his career -- by saying he is "still in love" with Maria, and that he is "optimistic" that they "will come together again."

But at the book-signing, most of the comments were about muscles.

"Keep up the workouts, OK?" he told one young man. "Look at that chest! You're pumped up today," he told another. When one student in a grey sweatsuit flexed his biceps, Shwarzenegger said, "Keep up the good work." Another man told Schwarzenegger that he bench-pressed 330 pounds.

"No wonder your chest is so big," Schwarzenegger replied.

Zach West, a film editor who loves Schwarzenegger's films and recently got into bodybuilding, said the housekeeper scandal had been "disappointing," but that he still admires him as someone who had "basically lived the American dream."

"He came to America, he was a nobody, conquered the world of bodybuilding, conquered the world of acting, then he conquered the world of politics," West said. "So yeah, I still find him inspiring."