You won’t believe some of the books Americans consider “profound”

“Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” … “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” … “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret?”

Are you kidding us, Library of Congress?

They’re not. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

The Library of Congress — basically our country's temple to books and the glory that is reading — on Thursday released its list of 65 books by American authors "that had a profound effect on American life."

But it's not so much their list as ours'. Forty of the books on the list — from Alex Haley's "Roots" to "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" by Robert Pirsig — were chosen directly by the public. The other 25 also were chosen by the public from a lengthy list that the Library of Congress's learned experts developed back in 2012 for its exhibition, "Books That Shaped America."

“The titles were not intended to be a list of the ‘best’ American books,” the Library of Congress explained about that 2012 exhibition, which included classics like “Moby Dick” and “Little Women” as well as more populist titles like “The Cat in the Hat” and “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie. “Rather, the Library curators selected 88 books by American authors that they believed had a profound effect on American life.”

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At the time, the Library urged readers to name other books they felt belonged in that category. Thousands responded and the books named the most ended up on the new list and as part of a new exhibition opening there on June 16. Free through Dec. 31, it will feature some of the rarest and interesting editions of the books that are included in the Library’s 162 million item collection.

“Once again, the volumes featured in the “America Reads” exhibition do not necessarily represent the best in American letters, nor do they speak to the diversity of our nation and the books it produces,” the Library said Thursday. “But as with the 2012 exhibition, “America Reads” is intended to jump-start new conversations about the most influential books written in America and what they mean to people.”

In addition to the above mentioned works by Hunter S. Thompson, Julia Child (and co-authors) and Judy Blume, other books directly chosen by the public include “Little House in the Big Woods” by Laura Ingalls Wilder, “Capitalism and Freedom” by Milton Friedman and “The Color Purple” by Georgia native Alice Walker.

Among the public’s top 25 choices from the original 2012 list are “Gone with the Wind” by lifelong Atlantan Margaret Mitchell and “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee. And — phew! — “The Cat in the Hat” also made the cut.