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In February, in a small shop with bright green walls in North London, a local bookstore proprietor started tweeting the full text of the first Harry Potter book at Piers Morgan.

The shopkeeper, Simon Key, had been inspired by a Twitter feud between J.K. Rowling and the British T.V. personality/internet blowhard. Morgan, responding to Rowling’s expressing delight at him being told to “fuck off” on Real Time with Bill Maher, wrote, “This is why I’ve never read a single word of Harry Potter.” The next day, the Big Green Bookshop’s co-owner started tweeting. He tweeted hundreds of times and was blocked, others carried on his work and his hashtag, and the book store became momentarily Twitter-famous.

The Bookseller, a British magazine that reports on the publishing industry, quoted Key as saying the store received a sizable boost in sales. But Twitter fame can only sustain a business for so long, and on Sunday Key sent out a plea for help:

Ironically (or fittingly?), the campaign to save the Big Green Bookshop turned the shop, at least temporarily, into an international e-commerce business, a scaled-down version of the services often blamed for edging out indie bookstores. While many Londoners did turn to Twitter to find out if a book they wanted was in stock before swinging by, it seemed most people asked for shipments by mail.
You were going to get one-click access to the full text of nearly every book that’s ever been published. Books still in print you’d have to pay for, but everything else—a collection slated to grow larger than the holdings at the Library of Congress, Harvard, the University of Michigan, at any of the great national libraries of Europe—would have been available for free at terminals that were going to be placed in every local library that wanted one.

At the terminal you were going to be able to search tens of millions of books and read every page of any book you found. You’d be able to highlight passages and make annotations and share them; for the first time, you’d be able to pinpoint an idea somewhere inside the vastness of the printed record, and send somebody straight to it with a link. Books would become as instantly available, searchable, copy-pasteable—as alive in the digital world—as web pages.

It was to be the realization of a long-held dream. “The universal library has been talked about for millennia,” Richard Ovenden, the head of Oxford’s Bodleian Libraries, has said. “It was possible to think in the Renaissance that you might be able to amass the whole of published knowledge in a single room or a single institution.” In the spring of 2011, it seemed we’d amassed it in a terminal small enough to fit on a desk.
And now, another attempt to claim William Shakespeare, the greatest playwright who ever lived and arguably the greatest poet, was not the author of his own works, with a dollop of 21st century political correctness. The meme claims:

"The meme claims Amelia Bassano is the lady who wrote all of Shakespeare's plays. Because she was black they would not publish her work."

The reason we didn’t learn that fact in school, Ms. Johnson, is because the claim is simply horse manure. As wrote in debunking the ridiculous claim, Aemilia Bassano (later Emilia Lanier) was a published author; the Shakespearean Authorship Trust points out that Bassano became the “first woman to publish a book of original poetry” when her work Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum was put into print in 1611, and guess what else?

She was Jewish, from Morocco.

Snopes continues: “No contemporaneous accounts describe Bassano as 'black' (or 'African') … A 2009 paper published in the Oxfordian, the journal of Shakespearean authorship studies, stated that some of Bassano’s relatives were referred to as 'black' when they arrived in London, likely due to their dark complexions."
Robert M. Pirsig, who inspired generations to road trip across America with his "novelistic autobigraphy," Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, died Monday at the age of 88.

His publisher William Morrow & Company said in a statement that Pirsig died at his home in South Berwick, Maine, "after a period of failing health."

Pirsig wrote just two books: Zen (subtitled "An Inquiry Into Values") and Lila: An Inquiry into Morals.

William Morrow/HarperCollins

Zen was published in 1974, after being rejected by 121 publishing houses. "The book is brilliant beyond belief," wrote Morrow editor James Landis before publication. "It is probably a work of genius and will, I'll wager, attain classic status."

Indeed, the book quickly became a best-seller, and has proved enduring as a work of popular philosophy. A 1968 motorcycle trip across the West with his son Christopher was his inspiration.
Grove City College professor of Psychology Dr. Kevin S. Seybold’s new book examines how contemporary psychological science interacts with religion.

In “Questions in the Psychology of Religion,” Seybold applies the empirical methods used in psychology to religious experiences, which are determined, at least in part, by natural physical processes. His study of the natural mechanisms that influence behavior, thought and emotion provides important insights into the fundamental and universal phenomena of religion.

The book takes on some big questions: What does it mean to be human? Why are we moral creatures? Are religious experiences different from everyday ones? Is the brain involved in experiencing God? What is a soul and do we have one? Is religion the result of evolutionary processes? How might psychology and religion relate?

Writing for students, pastors and “people in the pews,” Seybold said his work addresses common issues in the field and others unique to his own research and scholarship, such as the cognitive science of religion – which is becoming a dominant perspective in the field – and the soul and morality. Seybold also covers new ground in the area of cultural cognition, examining why those on opposite sides of the political spectrum differ so widely in how they think and process information.