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Beijing Bestsellers: Harry Potter, Betty's Kitchen, and lifestyle books

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Betty gives lazy cooks a fake book.

Is anyone surprised that Harry Potter #6 is tops this week? It takes two slots, no less, with the British and American editions coming in at #1 and #2 respectively. And the first volume in the series is at #6 on the children's list, despite having been available in a 5-yuan pirated edition for years.

Also recently pirated is the jointly edited History of Three East Asian Countries (#8). The editions that I've seen available in bookstalls have been pretty low quality, with badly photocopied illustrations set against OCR-ed and reprinted text, but the very existence of illegal copies speaks to the popularity of the book. People are buying it, at least.

At the top of the Lifestyle Bestsellers list is a new cookbook - Betty's Kitchen: Good Food for Lazy Cooks I - that promises 60 tasty dishes to satisfy the appetites of people who don't really want to cook. The Betty's Kitchen brand, part of a joint venture set up by Ringier AG out of Switzerland, includes a popular cooking magazine and a television show. And now a line of cookbooks. Check out that spiral binding!

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Lai Yayan wants to make you beautiful.

The books that make up the remainder of the lifestyle list are mostly about beauty and food, and the food books are mostly about beauty, too. There are three books by celebrities out of Taiwan and a number of translations of English-language faddish health manuals. Last week's #10, eliminated this week in favor of Darrin Zeer's Office Yoga, was yet another diet book, a translation of The South Beach Diet. Five of the top ten are published by The Contemporary World Publishing House.

Lai Yayan, star of Meteor Garden II and other teen idol shows, has her first book out: A Beauty Treasury from Taiwan's Dae Jang Geum. Dae Jang Geum (大长今) was a woman during Korea's Joseon dynasty who became royal physician, and who is currently the subject of a wildly popular soap opera (also known as A Jewel In The Palace) that has been exported to greater China. The implication here is that Lai Yayan's remedies - for whiter skin, darker hair, fuller breasts, and a healthier body - are effective enough to make her a royal physician as well. Asians only, though - the blurb on the cover notes that her "Han preparations" are uniquely suited to the eastern body type.


The lifestyle bestseller list for the week of 7/16--7/22:

  1. (1) Betty's Kitchen: Good food for the lazy cook (《贝太厨房:好吃懒做》)
  2. (2) Beauty King by Xu Xiyuan: Taiwan celebrity Big S writes about fashion. Online at QQ. (徐熙媛, 《美容大王》)
  3. (4) Meizi's Recipe Diary #2: Sequel to the same author's Lovers' Cookbook, it's a cookbook written in diary form. She writes little vignettes followed by an interesting recipe. Excerpts are available at Sina. (《温情煮意——梅子的写食日记II》)
  4. (5) Teacher Xu's One Minute Slimming Exercises by Xu Xidi: Little S (another celebrity from Taiwan) shares the secrets of why she's so thin. (徐熙娣, 《徐老师一分钟瘦身操》)
  5. (3) You Are What You Eat by Dr. Gillian McKeith. Chinese title reads An Eating Plan to Change Your Life. (《改变一生的饮食计划》)
  6. (6) Food is the Best Medicine: Japanese diet book. (《食物是最好的医药》)
  7. (7) Your Best Face by Brandith Irwin, M.D. and Mark McPherson, Ph.D.: American guide to avoiding plastic surgery. (《最美丽的肌肤》)
  8. (8) Food Interaction edited by Dong Shikai: Just like the relationships among the five elements, foods interact with each other. This is just one of a whole slew of books providing instruction on what foods can and cannot be eaten together. (董世凯主编, 《食物相克》)
  9. (9) The Beauty Treasury of Taiwan's Dae Jang Geum by Lai Yayan: Playing off the popular Korean soap about a woman who becomes a doctor, a star reveals the secrets she uses to stay beautiful. (赖雅妍, 《台湾大长今美容宝典》)
  10. (-) Office Yoga by Darrin Zeer: Yoga classes are springing up all over, and this is just one of many popular books. Chinese title reads Yoga for busy people. (《大忙人瑜伽》)

The overall bestseller list for the week of 7/16--7/22:

  1. (-) Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling: British version. (J.K. 罗琳, 《哈利·波特与混血王子》)
  2. (-) Harry Potter #6 American version.
  3. (1) The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown: For the past few months this novel has been a best-seller shared by the mainland, Taiwan, and the United States. Digital Fortress is a perennial on the fiction list, too. (丹·布郎,《达·芬奇密码》)
  4. (5) Wolf Totem by Jiang Rong: Another long-running best-seller, this loosely-plotted novel is being made into a movie (mentioned earlier on Danwei). (姜戎,《狼图腾》)
  5. (4) Initial D: The Movie Book. Pictures are available on QQ.com. (《头文字D电影写真书》)
  6. (3) About Going to Work by Zhu Deyong: The author is a cartoonist from Taiwan whose earlier work was the inspiration for the incredibly popular television series Pink Ladies. A sample of Work is available on Sina. (朱德庸,《关于上班这件事》)
  7. (-) Light for a Book-Dream edited by Liu Haitao: subtitled One hundred stories to motivate middle school students. Similar to the popular A Night With No Adults. (刘海涛, 《书梦的灯》)
  8. (2) Modern and Contemporary History of Three East Asian Countries: The new textbook jointly edited by scholars from China, South Korea, and Japan. Danwei recently reviewed the book. (《东亚三国的近现代史》)
  9. (8) Short Stories, Great Truths edited by Ya Qin: 500 classic parables. (雅琴,《小故事,大道理》)
  10. (6) Rush to the Dead Summer by Guo Jingming (Danwei previously translated the title as 1995-2005 Not Yet Summer Solstice): Novel is serialized on Sina. Danwei has previous stories on Guo Jingming. (郭敬明,《1995-2005夏至未至》)

Bestseller rankings are taken from the Friday Book Review section in The Beijing News, which compiles its data from the city's major online and brick & mortar bookstores.

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