Good Hungarian books
Does anyone know good books that are helpful in learning Hungarian? (Just regular literary books, not learning materials)
A Pál utcai fiúk by Molnár Ferenc. A world classic, and except for the very first sentence which stretches on frighteningly long, it's written in a pretty simple style. Not simplistic, just clear.
Vuk and many other animal stories of Fekete István. They're very readable with a lot of colorful vocabulary, particularly relating to nature, that is generally easy to figure out from context.
Tanár úr kérem by Karinthy Frigyes. Short, funny school stories. Like A Pál utcai fiúk this takes you back to roughly turn-of-the-century Budapest. Karinthy is a language virtuoso, sort of like Douglas Adams or Terry Pratchett - he can make you laugh just by his turns of phrase.
The Esti Kornél stories from Kosztolányi Dezső, particularly if you want something more "adult" and "literary". The individual stories are short and remind me a lot of Hemmingway's Nick Adams stories. Like Hemmingway, Kosztolányi writes with a pretty direct, uncomplicated style, although he likes colorful and poetic vocabulary.
Even shorter, the Egyperces novellák by Örkény István. Really really short stories that can sometimes be like koans or riddles to figure out. Sometimes very funny indeed. Quite a bit like Daniil Kharms.
I don't generally recommend translations but
- Micimackó and Micimackó kuckója, the Hungarian translations of A. A. Milne's "Winnie-the-Pooh" books, are really brilliant. The translation was done by Karinthy Frigyes and his sister and takes full advantage of the possibilities of the language. Some of the turns of phrase have found their way into the language.
Some of the above are available for free online via MEK.
As always, thanks to Duolingo and their excellent discussion forum software for ensuring that the effort put into compiling this list will be wasted as the thread almost immediately becomes buried and impossible to find. Then the next person who has this common question can start their own thread and we can get all the useful information and helpful replies thoroughly disconnected and dispersed throughout myriad threads.
If you like poems you should read Petőfi, he is one of the famous Hungarian poet, his poems are easy and understandable. E.g. http://magyar-irodalom.elte.hu/sulinet/igyjo/setup/portrek/petofi/beford.htm .