Best Books of Sudha Murthy for Teenagers and Adults

If you are looking for the best books by Sudha Murthy that teenagers and young adults can enjoy reading, then you are reading the right article. Here, I have enlisted the best books, their summary and some other relevant information that will interest you. So let’s read further.

best fiction books of sudha murthy for adults and teenagers
Sudha Murthy ‘s best fiction novels for teenagers and adults

If you are also looking for books for kids then you may read the article on Best books of Sudha Murthy for kids and teenagers

About Sudha Murthy, the author and philanthropist  

Sudha Murthy hails from Shiggaon in the state of Karnataka in India. Her upbringing was traditional Indian and education oriented. The eminent author Sudha Murthy has a Masters degree in engineering and she is also a teacher for engineering students.

Sudha Murthy
Sudha Murthy

Her multiple roles include being a writer, 

  • Philanthropist 
  • Inspirational speaker
  • Feminist change-maker 
  • Humanitarian 
  • Wife 
  • Mother
  • Grandmother

She means a lot to the different people she comes in contact with. For example, they consider her a mentor, 

  • Guide
  • Medium of help from divinity
  • A visionary and so much more

Author Sudha Murthy has not only written short stories and fiction novels but also technical books, travelogues, articles and memoirs. Her books cater to adults and children as well. Her short stories have found a place in school textbooks, while few of her books are recommended reading for middle-grade students. The translated editions of her books are available in many major Indian languages. 

What is the writing style and theme in Sudha Murthy’s books?

best short story books by Sudha Murthy for adults
Best short stories of Sudha Murthy for adults

Author Sudha Murthy aims to address several themes in her novels and short stories, such as,

  • Human values like kindness 
  • Women’s empowerment
  • Keeping noble intentions
  • Social issues 
  • Identity crisis
  • Culture 
  • Indianness and brotherhood

Sudha Murthy strives to portray a combination of traditional Indian values and the individualism of modern times to her reader community through her stories. Her writing style is conversational, friendly, written in simple language that readers can easily understand and relate.

Yet, reading her books helps readers to improve their vocabulary. The plot in her books is simple, emotional and has just the right amount of drama to keep the reader’s interest. The setting and culture in her stories is familiar to the Indian readers.

Sudha Murthy at the Infosys Foundation

Sudha Murthy author and Philanthropist
Sudha Murthy: Author and Philanthropist 

The author Sudha Murthy is the co-founder and chairperson of the not-for-profit initiative Infosys Foundation. The foundation works to help and create opportunities for the underprivileged sections of society. Moreover, the Infosys Foundation works in the areas of 

  • Education
  • Rural Development
  • Healthcare
  • Arts and Culture
  • Destitute Care
  • Disaster and Calamities

The Infosys Foundation began with social work in Karnataka during their formative years and has now branched out philanthropic work in all directions of the country. 

ALSO READ: Guide to university applications to study abroad.

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Awards won by Sudha Murthy

Awards won by Sudha Murthy
Awards won by Sudha Murthy
  • Padma Shri Award in 2006
  • Gold Medal in B.Tech for highest marks in entire Karnataka
  • Gold Medal from IIS, Bengaluru, for 1st rank in M.Tech.
  • R.K. Narayan Award for Literature in 2006
  • Attimabbe Award from Karnataka government in 2011

And many other awards and felicitations.

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BEST BOOKS OF SUDHA MURTHY FOR YOUNG ADULTS AND TEENAGERS 

Gently Falls the Bakula

This is the best fiction book among contemporary realistic fiction books by Sudha Murthy for adults. It will catch your attention right from the beginning. The language is simple and the narrative slowly unfolds the lives of its main characters Shrimati and Shrikant. The story is primarily from Shrimati’s viewpoint and her situation in marriage. 

Shrimati and her husband Shrikant know each other as neighbours before they decide to get married. The Bakula tree stands between the compound walls of their respective homes and showers the rather plain yet fragrant Bakula flowers on either side. There is a slight enmity between the two families yet it does not stop Shrikant and Shrimati from getting married. 

How their life progresses after marriage is an important element in the simple yet poignant plot. This is a must-read story that most Indians can relate to. Sudha Murthy hails from the same place and culture as the story’s character Shrimati. 

Dollar Bahu

This is one more great story from the box of Sudha Murthy books that young adults and teenagers will relish reading. The story’s central characters are Vinuta and her mother-in-law Gouramma.

When Vinuta marries Girish, a bank clerk, she happily adjusts to her domestic life looking after her hubby and her parents-in-law. Then change happens when Girish’s elder brother Chandru, settled in the USA, gets married. 

Gouramma starts comparing Vinuta with Chandru’s wife, who stays in America and enjoys the dollars her husband earns. Vinuta is hurt and this affects her health. Then Gouramma visits her elder son’s house in the US. There she feels the freedom from the shackles of Indian middle-class expectations, yet also the absence of love/respect she got naturally back in India. Read this best fiction book by Sudha Murthy, with the theme of traditional values, modernism and feminist undertones.

House of Cards

This book is contemporary realistic/drama fiction about a bright enthusiastic young girl named Mridula. She hails from a small village in Karnataka and was raised in a humble village ambience. She meets a young doctor named Sanjay, beginning his career as a doctor in a government hospital.

They get married and settle in Bangalore. Dr Sanjay gets busy in the government hospital and Mridula in setting up their home. Eventually, her ambitious husband leaves the government job and starts his independent practice that consumes all his time.

Mridula realises how material goods and status are so important to her husband and the people in the city. She feels lonely and isolated when Sanjay becomes self-centred and rude. How does Mridula deal with these feelings and make decisions in her life? “House of Cards” is an emotional fiction for young adults and teenagers among Sudha Murthy books. 

Wise And Otherwise

This is an interesting non-fiction book because it’s a memoir of Sudha Murthy’s experiences. She meets a variety of people during her travels. Though the experiences are real, you will find they are narrated in a flowy short story format. The 50 stories reflect the mindset, lifestyle, motivation, inspiration, faith, aspiration and attachments of human nature.

Sudha Murthy travels the length and breadth of India and outside too, for her philanthropic work, etc. Her sensitive and down to earth nature allows Sudha Murthy to recognise and unravel human nature.

You will feel as if Sudha Murthy were sitting near you and recounting the incidents and experiences during her travels. The touching stories bring forth the Indian values, expectations, struggles and joys of people from all strata of society. This is one more must-read for teenagers and young adults from the basket full of Sudha Murthy’s books. 

Three Thousand Stitches

Author Sudha Murthy has lived a life of grace, helping people with her philanthropic activities. Yet she is grounded, down to earth, austere, grateful and candid. Connecting with people due to her social work and life’s responsibilities, Sudha Murthy shares her experiences in the form of short stories. So you will read about some personal stories and some stories about other people. 

The tagline of this book is “Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives”, which gives away the essence of the book. Like all Sudha Murthy books, this book too is a must-read that will delight teenagers and young adult readers.

The Mother I Never Knew

This book has 2 novellas, which means a short novel, about two men redefining their mothers. Venkatesh discovers his half-brother from another mother from his father’s extra-marital affair. He finds his stepmother in a bad state and this makes Venkatesh apologetic for what his father has done to them. 

Yet can he do anything to erase the time that has gone by? Venkatesh is in turmoil. In another story, Mukesh discovers he is an adopted child and decides to find his biological mother. In his emotionally exhausting journey to find his mother, Mukesh faces his confused emotions and loses clarity. 

He is in a haze, should he be loyal to his biological mother or to the mother who raised him. Read these poignant stories in the book “The Mother I Never Knew”.

The Day I Stopped Drinking Milk

This book has 23 real stories about people that will touch your heart. Stories in this book will entertain and keep you engrossed with their profound meanings. The author is a keen observer, watching and listening to what’s happening around her. Many of the people she writes about, give her permission to write their stories with a change in their name.

Travelling by train gives her an opportunity to meet many people. She believes nobody is inconsequential, every person has a story and something we can learn from. The title story “The Day I Stopped Drinking Milk” is about an incident from Sudha Murthy’s visit to a tribal village in Orissa. 

When she visited the tribal village, sudden torrential rain disrupted her plans. While taking refuge in a tribal house, she noticed the baby crying incessantly out of hunger even as the father offered Sudha Murthy some milk to drink. 

The Old Man And His God

This too is a book of 25 short stories about incidents and people from all walks of life, that Sudha Murthy met during her travels. This makes the book a memoir because it is a collection of memories. They are presented as philosophical, emotionally touching short stories rather than plain factual information.

There is no common theme running through all the stories. Yet what’s common is they touch the fibre of Indian people’s daily lives, their aspirations and struggles. As a result, this book unravels the soul and spirit of common Indian people. She begins the book with heartfelt gratitude to Infosys Foundation because of which she comes in contact with many people across India. 

The stories include the title story from Thanjavur, “Freedom of Speech ” from her younger days, Horegallu, A Tale Of Two Brothers, The Way You Look At It, An Officegoer’s Dilemma, and many others. If you enjoy reading light, philosophical, spiritually touching and profound short stories then this book will be an ideal read for you.

Here, There and Everywhere: Best-Loved Stories of Sudha Murty

This book of short stories has a mix of new and best stories from her other books. The highlight among new stories is one that recounts her literary journey. She explains the various stages of her life that shaped her practice of writing. New stories tell her cherished memories that are close to her heart while also explaining the true meaning of philanthropy.

Something Happened On The Way To Heaven

Before this book was published, the concept of this book began with an open contest run by Penguin Publishers inviting true-life stories. These touching stories are showcased in the book. All the 20 short stories in this book are not written by Sudha Murthy herself but selected and narrated by her.

The stories are full of real human experiences that connect to the reader’s heart. This is because the stories are about people in various life stages, from childhood till death.

The stories show

  • faith,
  • joy,
  • hope and
  • kindness of human nature. 

If you are a Sudha Murthy fan then you probably believe that the goodness of heart keeps the human experience in the world running smoothly. If so, then you will enjoy reading the uplifting stories in this book, similar to books written by Sudha Murthy.

Mahashweta

Mahashweta best fiction book by Sudha Murthy for adults
Mahashweta Best fiction book by Sudha Murthy for adults

This fiction book is about a bright, talented and beautiful young girl, Anupama, brought up in an economically humble background. She knows Sanskrit too. She meets Dr Anand at a common family friend’s house. Dr Anand watches Anupama’s college play “Mahashweta” in which she plays the lead character.

Dr Anand is attracted to Anupama’s beauty, that is why he proposes to marry her, despite the financial differences. They marry and Mahasweta believes her life will be great. Unfortunately, Anupama develops leucoderma white spots on her foot. Life turns sour for her when her husband and the people around her turn toxic and abusive resenting her white spots. 

She can neither live happily in her parent’s house in the village nor continue living in her husband’s house. How does Anupama deal with these new life-changing events? Does she run away to another place and build a new life?

To sum up best books of Sudha Murthy for adults and teenagers

It is Sudha Murthy’s humanitarian nature, coupled with her keen observation that impact her writing and making of these memoirs. She is mature, sensitive to discern people’s intentions, motivation and struggles.

We, as readers, get to know about a range of people across India and parts of their lives through her real stories/memoirs. They inspire us to think of people’s troubles and their values. How people balance their aspirations with their core values and adjust to their realities.

Memoir

  • Wise And Otherwise
  • Three Thousand Stitches
  • The Day I Stopped Drinking Milk
  • The Old Man And His God
  • Her, There And Everywhere
  • Something Happened On The Way To Heaven

We read about the best fiction books by Sudha Murthy. How a good mix of feminism and traditionalism in the thinking process of female characters impacted their decision making. Most of her female characters do not play a victim and take decisions to maintain their dignity.

Fiction books

  • Gently Falls The Bakula
  • Dollar Bahu
  • House Of Cards
  • The Mother I Never Knew
  • Mahashweta

These best fiction books by Sudha Murthy have the right mix of inspiration and values for adults and teenagers.

Further reading

  1. Read a ResearchGate document about Sudha Murthy’s writing style, theme and characterisation written by Nishtha Vaswani.
  2. Interesting interview of Sudha Murthy in Reader’s Digest
  3. An article (PDF) on social and ethical values conveyed in Sudha Murthy’s novels.

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