Jean Auel

The creator of prehistoric adventures on three far-flung tales.



When Jean Auel conceived of the epic story that would become the "Earth's Children" series, she thought it would be contained within a single book, chronicling the adventures, in a painstakingly reconstructed prehistoric world, of a Cro-Magnon woman who had been raised in a society of Neanderthals. Four years later, in 1980, she published The Clan of the Cave Bear, but by then it was clear that multiple novels would be needed to unfold the story of her heroine, Ayla. That story culminates with the newly released sixth volume, The Land of Painted Caves. Jean Auel shared three of her favorite books with us.


Books by Jean Auel




"East of the Sun, West of the Moon" in The Blue Fairy Book

Edited by Andrew Lang


"I read this fairy tale when I was young and although I didn't consider all the implications then, I realize now that it was the girl in the tale who was the one who did the heroic deeds. She was the one who made it interesting for me."





The Left Hand of Darkness

By Ursula K. Le Guin


"The characters in this interesting story fascinated me because they changed their gender and reversed roles."









By James A. Michener


"In this novel I especially liked all of  the background detail that the author provided in building the story."


April 19: "What you see first, after the starting gun's crack, is a column of bobbing runners, thousands of them, surging downhill..."

Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch is the winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. James Parker calls this Dickensian coming-of-age novel "an enveloping…

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Poems That Make Grown Men Cry

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The King of Pain

Trapped beneath his entertainment system, reality TV mastermind Rick Salter reflects on his life and tries to piece together the events of the previous evening. Seth Kaufman’s romp is an outrageous meditation on pain and entertainment in a deranged world in which the two are often interchangeable.

The Good Inn

Frank Black, frontman for the Pixies, has written a transgressive historical fiction with shades of Thomas Pynchon (focused as it is on the history of explosives and cinematic pornography), all set in a hallucinatory Edwardian Europe.