Books That Inspire 2011

The Clan of the Cave Bear
Jean M. Auel

The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel is the story of Ayla, a Cro-Magnon girl raised by a clan of Neanderthals. Set in the pre-historic past, the novel follows Ayla's journey as she struggles to find her place in an unforgiving world. While she possesses physical and mental abilities that surpass her Neanderthal family, she remains an outsider and must overcome daunting challenges to realize her full potential. Exploring themes that are relevant today, this extensively researched and vividly imagined novel presents a strong feminist perspective. I discovered this book in my early 20's while in the process of finding my own place in society. I was moved and inspired by Ayla's story of love, loss, courage and determination. As a librarian, I appreciate the considerable research required to breathe life into an ancient society and to recreate a time period rarely visited in fiction.

Maura Valentino
Coordinator of Digital Initiatives
University Libraries