Florence Pugh's Favorite Books Are Iconic Modern Classics

Whether you've set a New Year's resolution to finish a certain number of books, or you're joining one of TikTok's trending reading challenges, there are plenty of ways to start reading more without it feeling like a chore. Instagram accounts like @celebbookrecs help to rouse the intention to read by proving that our favorite stars do it too — and they actually have some great titles to recommend if you're stuck for inspiration. Back in September 2022, the account shared on Instagram the favorite books of British actor Florence Pugh, who, despite starring in blockbusters like "Oppenheimer" and "Little Women," is undeniably relatable and down-to-earth. If her adorable relationship with her grandma isn't enough to convert you into a Florence Pugh fan, her list of favorite books should be.


Modern classics like "George's Marvellous Medicine" by Roald Dahl and "Dune" by Frank Herbert appear on the list. Though Pugh's favorites seem to range from children's books to horror, each title on the list is iconic for its unique voice and unforgettable characters. If you don't love these popular titles already, add them to your to-be-read (TBR) pile and dive in.

Dune by Frank Herbert

If Florence Pugh's Instagram is anything to go by, we can confirm that one of her favorite books is "Dune" by Frank Herbert. Pugh posted a photo to the platform in August of 2022 that showed her reading the sci-fi tale on the beach. Then in May 2023, she revealed that she would be starring in the film adaptation of "Dune: Part Two," captioning the post (in all caps, no less!): "I'm sorry I'm late but this is still so cool and I can't believe I was allowed to play with all these amazingly talented people."


First written in 1965, "Dune" tells the story of Paul Atreides, a noble heir to the ruling family of the desert planet Arrakis. Paul embarks on a character journey of epic proportions after his family is betrayed, prompting him to evolve into Muad'Dib. The book explores ecology, politics, and technology amongst other thought-provoking themes. If you're the sort of reader who doesn't like to invest in a book unless you're guaranteed a long stream of sequels, "Dune" is definitely for you: There's a total of 23 novels set across 15,000 years. Frank Herbert wrote six of them before his death in 1986, at which point his son Brian Herbert carried on the series with Kevin J. Anderson.

The Girls by Emma Cline

Released in 2016, "The Girls" is the debut novel of author Emma Cline. This dark piece of fiction is inspired by the very real Manson family murders, which took place in 1969. The protagonist Evie begins the story as an innocent teenage girl trying to find her place in the world but ends up allured by the promise of belonging amongst one of the most infamous cults in American history.


In a 2019 feature for The Guardian, Florence Pugh revealed that she loved "The Girls," but not necessarily because of the true-crime aspect. "It's a take on the Manson family, but it's less about him and more about the connection between two women in the group, and what lust and attraction can make you do," she explained, adding that it's really a coming-of-age story. " ... I really loved the way bodies are described and the difference that one summer can make when going through puberty," she said, continuing to sing the book's praises. "That was really beautiful to read."

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Sometimes books we read in childhood stay with us for the rest of our lives, and celebrities are no different. In 2019, Florence Pugh told the French outlet LCI Culture (via TF1 Info), "'The Secret Garden' changed me," adding that the children's book by Frances Hodgson Burnett was "so magical." In the same interview, Pugh's "Little Women" co-star Saoirse Ronan also vouched for "The Secret Garden," so this is definitely one to get around. In March of that year, Pugh gave a subtle nod to the classic in an Instagram caption that accompanied a photo of herself surrounded by greenery, writing, "Saturdays in The Secret Garden."


Many bibliophiles are already familiar with the iconic story, which follows a little girl called Mary Lennox who discovers a private secret garden after going to live with her distant uncle, following the death of her parents. Pugh first came across the story when her mother read it to her as a child, per The New York Times. It may have resonated with her as she spent a lot of time in the garden helping her mom. Though "The Secret Garden" is a simple story on the surface, elements of magic are weaved throughout and, according to the outlet, encouraged Pugh to believe in the possibility of magic manifesting in her own life.

George's Marvellous Medicine by Roald Dahl

There are few modern book lovers who don't cite Roald Dahl as one of the authors who first sparked their interest in reading, Florence Pugh included. In the same 2019 interview the actor did with the French outlet LCI Culture, she revealed that another one of her favorite childhood books came from iconic author Roald Dahl. "'George's Marvellous Medicine' used to be my favorite because my dad used to do the best scary voices, and I just remember being in hysterics, like, fits of giggles and he could never [finish] the book because [I would] ask him to repeat the same chapter over and over again because it would just be so funny," Pugh told the outlet. Prior to gushing about "George's Marvellous Medicine," she agreed with co-star Saoirse Ronan that Dahl's "Matilda" also changed her.


Another magical children's novel, "George's Marvellous Medicine" is about an eight-year-old boy who makes his own concoction to replace his grandmother's regular medicine to teach her a lesson. First published in 1981, and perhaps not quite as famous as Dahl's other works, including "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" and "The Witches," "George's Marvellous Medicine" is still a classic thanks to its unrivaled funny moments and hilarious characters.

The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris

Fantasy and magic tend to feature in most of Florence Pugh's favorite books, but there's one that fits firmly into the psychological horror genre. Even if they haven't read the book, which was published in 1988, most people are familiar with the plot of "The Silence of The Lambs" thanks to the famous movie in which the notorious Hannibal Lecter was played by Anthony Hopkins. Not exactly one for your list of highly anticipated beach reads, it follows FBI trainee Clarice Starling who asks for assistance from the cannibalistic Lecter to catch another killer.


In a 2019 interview with HeyUGuys to promote "King Lear," Pugh admitted that one of her favorite parts of working on the Shakespeare adaptation was working with Hopkins, revealing that she loved the legendary actor as "that psychopath that eats everyone" and she used to read the book "over and over again" (via YouTube). While it probably didn't inspire her to believe in magic or think deeply about the environment, there's no doubt that the carefully crafted characters of this psychological thriller have stuck with Pugh, and perhaps even inspired her to give some humanity to the villains that she plays in her acting career.