â€œThis is the first book Iâ€™ve read on Xi,â€ admits software engineer Wu Huifeng as he leafs through one of the latest tomes of Chinaâ€™s prolific president.
It need not be his last.
A Communist party publishing blitz ahead of next weekâ€™s political summit means the shelves of Chinese bookshops are now packed with Xi Jinping-themed works designed to strengthen both his reputation and his rule.
Immediately inside the entrance to the state-run Beijing Book Building, one of the capitalâ€™s largest stores, a recently inaugurated display features at least 50 works by or about Chinaâ€™s scribbler-in-chief.
â€œThe language is simple and sincere – quite down-to-earth, I think,â€ said Wu, 43, who was perusing one of the latest publications, a 452-page paperback about Xiâ€™s seven years of rural exile during the Cultural Revolution that sells for 76 yuan (Â£8.75).
Nearby, Fan Yubiao, a 22-year-old salesman, was examining another recent volume, Xi Jinpingâ€™s Discourse on Youth and the Work of the Chinese Communist Youth League.
â€œXiâ€™s quite a good person. Heâ€™s strict,â€ Fan said, praising his leaderâ€™s populist anti-corruption campaign which has toppled some of Chinaâ€™s most powerful politicians since he took power in 2012.
The works of Xi â€“ who some now suspect will seek to remain in power beyond the customary decade â€“ boast titles both stirring and sterile.
At the Beijing Book Building you can buy catchily named volumes including Xi Jinping: Wit and Vision, Xi Jinping: Know More, Love More and Xi Jinping Tells Stories as well as the presidentâ€™s best-known opus, Xi Jinping: The Governance of China.
Other titles are less enticing: Xi Jinping: Statements on the Construction of a Clean Government and the Anti-Corruption Campaign, Excerpts from Xi Jinping: Comprehensively Managing the Party in Strict Manner, and, for environmentalists, Xi Jinpingâ€™s Discourse on Ecological Improvement.
Chinaâ€™s party-run press claims Xiâ€™s writings have proved a hit both at home and abroad. If you believe Xinhua, the official news agency, a recent book of Xi anecdotes sold nearly 1.5m copies in under four months. The Governance of China has supposedly shifted 6.42m copies in 21 different languages.
â€œThese vivid stories … have opened a window to the essence of Xiâ€™s remarks,â€ the president of party mouthpiece, the Peopleâ€™s Daily, gushed in a recent interview.
Beyond the constraints of Chinaâ€™s heavily-censored publishing industry, rather more unconventional works about Xi are also starting to emerge, including a 23-page work of erotic fiction called Xiâ€™s The One.
The synopsis of the book, which sells on Amazon for Â£2.44, suggests it is unlikely to find a publisher in authoritarian China.
â€œSheâ€™s a lonely, overworked waitress in a downbeat Chicago pizza joint and heâ€™s the President of the Peopleâ€™s Republic of China on a tour of the United States,â€ it says. â€œTheir stressful, boring lives are about to heat up like a pizza…â€
Here are some choice excerpts from Chinaâ€™s Storyteller-in-Chief:
Xi Jinping: The Governance of China, 2014
â€œWhen I meet foreign leaders, one question they often ask in amazement is this: â€˜How can one govern such a large country as China?â€™ Indeed, it is not easy to govern a country with 1.3 billion people â€¦ In such a big, populous and complicated country as ours, we the leaders must have an in-depth knowledge of the national conditions and learn what the people think and what they want … We must cultivate an attitude of â€˜governing a big country is as delicate as frying a small fishâ€™.â€
Xi Jinping: Know More, Love More, 2015
â€œTo love oneâ€™s hometown, one first of all needs to know about it. A profound love must be built upon a profound understanding. One can only know more about oneâ€™s hometown, by loving it more.
â€œCommunists must hold clear positions as to what they support and what they oppose. Their flags must be clear and their attitudes forthright, especially when faced with major issues of right and wrong.â€
Xi Jinping: Wit and Vision (Selected Quotations and Commentary), 2015
â€œLanguage has a magical power. In his speeches, President Xi Jinping frequently uses analogies and storytelling to express profound truths. His colloquial, straightforward language clarifies ideas that many find puzzling, and his quotations from Chinaâ€™s traditional culture well summarize his topics and thoroughly expound his propositions. His speeches express wisdom in simple language that packs a powerful, penetrating punch.â€
Xi Jinpingâ€™s Seven Years As An Educated Youth, 2017
â€œXi Jinpingâ€™s Seven Years As An Educated Youth is a series of interviews planned and organised by the party school of the Communist partyâ€™s central committee [with those who knew him in the early 1970s].
â€œEven though the events [described] took place more than 40 years ago, [the intervieweesâ€™] precious memories have by no means faded. Everywhere general secretary Xi Jinping left footprints, we have listened attentively to stories of how he went through thick and thin, together with the people [and] of how he studied assiduously … [These stories] pierce peopleâ€™s souls over and over again.â€
Additional reporting by Wang Zhen