Sunday, June 19, 2011

Louis L'amour's Place on the Bookshelf

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."

7 comments:

Walt said...

Lee Child for sure.

Doug Warren said...

Probably Tom Clancy

pattinase (abbott) said...

I love estate sales. We found an amazing lithograph of a scene from a classic noir movie for a present for Megan at one a few weeks ago. I only wish I could remember which one. Maybe NIGHTMARE ALLEY. It wasn't a movie poster--just some artist doing a litho of it.

Crosby Kenyon said...

How about James Lee Burke?

Alteredcarbon said...

Clive Cussler? Although I've yet to read one, they seem popular.

Overstreet - Western Fiction said...

I don't see anyone having a space on the shelves equal to Louis L'Amour's, but then, I'm one of those who still think he was the greatest. And by way of disclosure, I'm only "45" so, hopefully, my collection won't show up in an estate sale for a long time.

If I had to pick, though, I would say Dan Brown. He's not my favorite--and he'll probably never put out two and three books a year like L'Amour--but he seems to have a strong hold on the reading public.

If you'd like to read an article I wrote for our local news, check out my latest blog at http://garisonfitch.com/2011/07/01/king-louis-lamour/

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