Looking for Hindi books in the US.
December 13, 2010 6:16 PM   Subscribe

Can anybody direct me to any good resources for purchasing Hindi-language books in the United States?

Family member is teaching herself Hindi. I'm impressed by that. So I'm looking for a couple of recommendations of either (a) booksellers that provide recommendations or descriptions in English of books in Hindi or (b) specific titles that would be accessible to someone with intermediate skill in the language, so I can pick up a couple of books in Hindi to encourage the ambition.

Anyway, I've found a few booksellers online, but I haven't found any that provide reliable descriptions. I'm not picky about the genre, but I don't want to get a self-published romance novel. Great fiction? Poetry? A book about environmental issues in India? A history of Bollywood? A book of scenic photography? I thought about buying a copy of the Bible in Hindi (neither one of us is religious, but it would be an interesting literary exercise), but I've been waved off from that by another family member. Also, not really interested in a textbook or any "Learn to read Hindi"-type books.

Oh, and, difficulty: holiday gift, so delivery time is an issue.

Many, many thanks in advance, etc. etc.
posted by socratic to Writing & Language (5 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
When I was looking for Hindi books for much the same reason, I went to Schoenhof's, the esteemed Cambridge, MA foreign bookseller. Though they had many books for learning Hindi, they professed to have no books in Hindi. After making my best sad face, they rummaged around in back and found Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone in Hindi translation! I can't find it on their website, but at least you can know it's out there. It's very smart-looking, with the same cover as the English version but with a nice thunderbolt Devanagari font. It's definitely not beginner-level-- it has decently complex sentences and, as in the original, a lot of neologisms, but it's nice to have a pretty straightforward story that's familiar. Of course, it won't give you any particular insight into North Indian culture or anything.
posted by threeants at 7:04 PM on December 13, 2010

Pustak is based in Princeton, NJ, and has English-language descriptions for just about everything in their (vast) catalogue.
posted by mykescipark at 7:21 PM on December 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

(sorry, transliterations, not descriptions - but some of the major titles do have English descriptions as well)
posted by mykescipark at 7:22 PM on December 13, 2010

I'd run into Pustak, but I didn't know if they were a reputable store (the website is a bit sad). BUT they have a Hindi copy of Gone With the Wind (!!) that might be appropriately ironic!

Also, threeants, I will call Schoenhof's in the morning. Thank you!
posted by socratic at 7:29 PM on December 13, 2010

You could also look for magazines in Hindi at your local Indian grocer (or online). Stardust, Filmfare, and other magazines about Hindi cinema have Hindi-language versions that are imported every month to the USA.

The short-story magazine also still flourishes in north India, and I regularly pick up issues of Kahaaniyaan and other such magazines to keep my Hindi from rusting. These are nice, intermediate level vocabulary (as opposed to the film magazines, which are slightly easier Hindi, with a lot of transliterated English).

Finally, consider purchasing your niece some awesome Hindi films. There's no better way to build vocabulary and comprehension than watching them with the subtitles switched off. 3 Idiots was the hit of last year, and you'd find it funny too, even if you're not a Hindi film fan -- it's a truly fabulous film that appeals to anyone who likes good a good university-set comedy.
posted by artemisia at 7:57 PM on December 13, 2010

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