I went to four estate sales yesterday. The historian part of me drooled (and sweated a lot) at the treasure trove of magazines in one garage: Life, Saturday Evening Post, Time, among others. I picked up the issue of Life from 1971 with the cover story about the opening of Disney World (two words back then). I also found the first issue of Time after JFK's assassination. Cover: President Johnson.
While those were good finds, I was struck by something else. In two of these homes, the man of the house literally had shelves of nothing but Louis L'amour westerns. Mostly they were paperbacks, a mix of the Bantam titles (with the black spines) and the more recent white ones (with the westerny font on the spines). One house had what we now refer to as a man cave but was, probably, just the library. With all the stuff of a certain age, the L'amour westerns did not seem out of place. In fact, they seemed almost a requirement. I say that because, when I was growing up, my dad and his dad both had their collections of L'amour westerns on their respective bookshelves.
Which led me to this question: is there an author's work nowadays that is required reading for a man? In forty years, at estate sales in 2051, will some future buyer look at the bookshelves of men who lived in these early 21st Century decades and think: "Ah, right, it was altogether fitting and proper for a man to have read those books."