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Maybe the midterm elections should have predicted this, or maybe a former leader of the free world is always going to draw a crowd.
Either way, the tickets for former President George W. Bush's appearance at Miami Book Fair International sold out in less than 10 minutes on Monday, prompting a brief flurry of frustrated emails and phone calls (to me, anyway). Was there a conspiracy afoot? Were tickets not put on sale for "regular" people? ("regular" not being my word, but from one of the emails I received).
The Herald's Clark Spencer reports that some tickets were set aside for big shots, but tickets were made available for the public. They just sold out in a matter of minutes. The Chapman Conference Centerm where Bush will talk about his new memoir Decision Points, holds around 700 people, a pretty small venue for a former leader of the free world.
Political figures have always been popular at the fair; Al Gore and Madeleine Albright were standing-room-only events, and anybody who braved the lines at Barack Obama's event a few years back - before he was elected president, mind you - can attest to the popularity of politics among the usually left-leaning book fair crowds.
Casting choice no. 1: MTV.com reports that Leonardo DiCaprio will play the serial killer H.H. Holmes in the film version of Erik Larson's terrific nonfiction book The Devil in the White City: Murder, Madness and Magic at the Fair that Changed America. No word on who plays the less sexy role of Daniel Burnham, architect of the fair.
Casting choice no. 2: Collider.com is reporting that Sandra Bullock and Tom Hanks will indeed play the parents of the (incredibly annoying and unbelievable) 9-year-old narrator of the film version of Jonathan Safran Foer's Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Directed by Stephen Daldry, the movie will center on young Oskar Schell, who must come to grips with his father's death on 9/11. As you may have guessed, I'm not a fan of this precious, tedious novel, though I did like Everything is Illuminated (made into an extremely mediocre movie that chopped out the best parts of the story).
The 43rd president of the United States will open the 27th edition of Miami Book Fair International at 4 p.m. Nov. 14 to speak about his upcoming memoir, Decision Points (Crown, $35).
Bush's appearance ``speaks to the prestige we've been able to garner all these years,'' said Alina Interián, executive director of the Florida Center for the Literary Arts. ``. . . It's quite timely so soon after the elections.''
Tickets cost $40 and include an autographed copy of the book, which reportedly covers the Bush presidency from the 2000 election through the financial crisis.
Tickets are scheduled to go on sale at noon Nov. 8 at http://miamibookfair.com/.
Bush is not the first member of the former first family to appear at the fair. Daughter Jenna presented her book Ana's Story in 2007, and his sister Doro Bush Koch appeared at the fair in 2006 with her memoir My Father, My President.
The fair runs from Nov. 14-21 at Miami Dade College's Wolfson campus in downtown Miami.