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."


July 23: Jessica Mitford died on this day in 1996.

Crime fiction legends Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly discuss the new book that unites their beloved sleuths Patrick Kenzie and Harry Bosch.

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
The Hundred-Year House

When a poetry scholar goes digging through the decrepit estate of his wife's family to uncover a bygone arts colony's strange mysteries, he awakens a tenacious monster: his mother-in-law. A wickedly funny take on aging aristocracies from author Rebecca Makkai (The Borrower).

Watching Them Be

What makes a film actor into a larger-than-life movie star? James Harvey's passionate, freewheeling essays explain why there are some faces (from Greta Garbo's to Samuel L. Jackson's) from which we cannot look away.


What if you called up the spouse on the verge of leaving you -- and instead found yourself magically talking to his younger self, the one you first fell for?  Rainbow Rowell, author of the YA smash Eleanor & Park, delivers a sly, enchanting take on 21st-century love.