Life & Style

Good Reads: Val Garland

Val Garland is one of the world's most prolific and renowned make-up artists. From fashion shows to magazine covers and now presenter extraordinaire on the BBC series Glow Up. Her reading choices are as bold, unusual and eclectic as her beauty point of view. Discover Val's top 10 favourite books of all time.


Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

What I always loved about this was the complete fantasy - it fuels your imagination, it takes you on a journey into another world.

All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Up there as one of my all time favourite books. I’ve always loved stories about life that persevered against all odds, and I found this one incredibly moving.

Stoner by John Williams

This is a great story of a man’s life journey. It’s the beautiful telling of reality - the tragedy and stoicism, the small victories and the resilience after defeat, everything that makes up up a human life. At times frustrating and sad, at others exciting and happy, Stoner reminds us that our 'mundane' lives are worth telling too.

Shadow of The Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

This is a page turning obsession of expression, love and lost books - A magical visual thriller that has lived long in my memory.

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Suskind

This is a classic, one of my all time faves. The story of Jean Baptiste Grenouille, ‘the nose’ born in dire circumstances, whose olfactory gift arouses the passion to create the finest perfume in all of the world. An urban legend of death and sensuality that can’t fail to ignite your olfactory senses.

The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett

I’ve read everything by Alan Bennett, and I absolutely adore him because I love the Britishness of how he can make poetry out of the most banal, humdrum reality. Very funny and poignant, The Uncommon Reader is a celebration of the liberating pleasures of the written word.

Alone in Berlin by Hans Fellada

This is a book inspired by a true story. An historical thriller, first published in 1947, it evokes the horror of life under the Third Reich and how an ordinary German couple fight their own war against it.

Operation Mincemeat by Ben Macintyre

This is the true spy story that changed the course of WW2. Thrilling, page turning, electrifying.

The Wind Up Bird Chronicles by Haruki Murakami

It’s an incredible book. A bold original mesmerising literary tour de force that is impossible to put down. If you’re into contemporary fiction you have to read Murakami.

The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters

Families, life and love. But it’s more than that, there is intrigue, suspense, betrayal. It’s about this widowed mother and introverted daughter who fall on hard times, and are obliged to take on lodgers, which they call paying guests. They rent their upper floor to a young married couple, and that’s where the interest starts - who is in the relationship between upstairs and downstairs, how and where will it lead...? A stonker of a page turner.

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