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Book Review: A Russian Journal by John Steinbeck

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John Steinbeck traveled to the Soviet Union not once, but twice. Did you guys know that? I found a reference to it while researching ballerina Maya Plisetskaya for The Dante Deception. A single sentence in one of the articles about her mentioned meeting Steinbeck in Moscow, and I did a double take. I don’t know much about Steinbeck, but being …

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Tiara Tuesday: Irina Youssoupov’s Wedding Tiara

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Made by Cartier in 1911, Irina Youssoupov’s wedding tiara was purchased three years later by Prince Felix Youssoupov as a wedding present for his bride. This tiara is unusual because the bottom part of the kokoshnik is made of rock crystal topped with platinum and diamonds. There’s a big diamond in the center of the top row – it’s a …

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Book Review: Night Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko

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In Night Watch, the first in the urban-noir fantasy series by Russian author Sergei Lukyanenko, low-grade White Magician Anton Gorodetsky finds himself caught up in a plot orchestrated by higher-grade magicians to change the course of human history. No pressure, right? I don’t normally read fantasy. In fact, I never read fantasy. Why? Because of Flannery O’Connor. She once said …