So when I get to New Delhi, I am going to have to be on the look out for other outlets for books. I am going to have to ask around, but the things I have thought of so far are: book stores, "black market" street book stores (obviously), book fairs (like the Sunday book sale I mentioned in an earlier entry that existed in Hyderabad. I feel bad, but in pursuit of my project I am willing to go out on a Sunday and buy books, if it comes to that), book carts, book stalls, yard sales?, literature events, college stores, national libraries, and local libraries. Perhaps talking to publishing houses might also help to see which book seller people they sell their books to might uncover some leads.
I am finding that in my research I am struggling to find sources talking about Indian readership. There isn't much, but there is plenty for a field study project that involves literary criticism. However, while enlightening and something that would be productive to read in preparation for my time in India and discussing literature with people, it doesn't really help me ground my project in the current research about reading in India. I mostly have been hitting the databases I use as an English major, which is probably part of the problem. The study of English is interested in why people read, but usually is more abstract/attempting to be universal, which isn't terribly helpful. I think I will have to talk to a few of my anthropologist friends to see if there are any databases that they recommend particularly (Rachel, here's lookin' at you kid, among others). Perhaps they will have more of what I need.
Anyhow, I talk like I have completely narrowed it down, but I haven't quite yet. Emma Roberts is out. As much as I would love to do that, I do not think I have the temperament to go run around the country and accomplish things. I am not good at being spontaneous like you would need to be in order to make that work. Besides, I really do not think a summer is enough time to make that work. I think the Urdu poetry thing might be out as well. I am in love with the idea, but I don't know if I could quite tie it together in something meaningful. Okay, I think I could, but I guess I am not sure that I could learn Urdu well enough in time in order to actually work in translation, which is what I would have to do. And it wouldn't be text book Urdu, it would be artistic, high Urdu written in handwriting from two hundred years ago, not printed, with all the irregularities and complexities that go along with it. I think it would be fun, but I would probably end up writing a paper about the experience of how hard it is to translate and interpret poetry, not really write something meaningful about the poetry. The remaining three ideas are kind of iterations of each other. Some are too broad, some might be too narrow, I will have to work them out. I may just end up creating a hybrid out of them or something. I think locating some actual resources about what and why people are reading will be helpful to giving me some really healthy perspective on what direction I should go. Although I guess thinking about the topics, I am going to need literary history, not just literary anthropology. Blerg. I don't know where to get that.