Books on Zen most suited for beginners, as far as I'm concerned, are "Zen - a way of life" by Christmas Humphreys, "An Introduction to Zen Buddhism" by D.T.Suzuki, or just go to a library and try what you find there. That's what I did when I got first interested. (now I'm a Zen teacher) As far as I remember, it was Alan Watt's books I read first. One of my all time favourites is "Zen Flesh - Zen Bones" compiled by Paul Reps.
Don't know much about Hinduism, what I know I got from listening to Ram Dass, his tapes and videos, very helpful and greatly enjoyable, but that wouldn't be the best way to learn about Hinduism.