True Story

A Fake Heiress, Endangered Salmon, and Internet Slang

Hello nonfiction friends! Since last arriving in your inbox, I have survived a heatwave, hauled fallen tree limbs, and KonMari’d more than 100 books from my overflowing shelves. It feels like it should be the weekend, and it’s only Wednesday.

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This week is another slower one in the world of publishing, but I’ll take it. I have three new books to feature including a highly-anticipated memoir about a con artist in New York City, an exploration of the danger facing wild salmon, and a peek at the world of language on the Internet. Let’s get going!

My Friend Anna: The True Story of a Fake Heiress by Rachel DeLoache Williams – There are few things I love more than a good con story, so of course this book has been on my radar. Rachel DeLoache Williams’s friend Anna Delvey claimed to be a German heiress and, for a while, her luxurious lifestyle supported the claim. But after a series of financial mishaps to the tune of $62,000 on a vacation, Williams learned her friend had been deceiving her… and almost everyone else. Shocking rich people problems!

Further Reading: Williams published an essay about her friendship with Anna on Vanity Fair back in 2018. I expect the memoir will expand on all the juicy details.

Stronghold: One Man’s Quest to Save the World’s Wild Salmon by Tucker Malarkey – This book is a profile of Guido Rahr, “an unlikely visionary and his protect the world’s last bastion of wild salmon.” Rahr’s quest began when he started noticing a decline in the salmon runs of the Pacific Northwest where he fished, but goes on to explore the world of wild salmon through the eyes of “scientists, conservationists, Russian oligarchs, corrupt officials” and more. The marketing copy compares the book to Mountains Beyond Mountains and The Orchid Thief – two of my favorite books about obsessions – which has me pretty psyched.

Further Reading: Outside Magazine included the book on a list of favorite summer reads of 2019, which includes some other great titles too.

Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language by Gretchen McCulloch – I love a good language book. In this one, Gretchen McCulloch, an internet linguist, explores “how the internet is changing the English language, why that’s a good thing, and what our online interactions reveal about who we are.”

Further Listening: McCulloch co-hosts a podcast called Lingthusiasm, described as “a lively, nerdy, language-y conversation with real linguists!” I’m mad I didn’t know about this until today, but of course I am going to listen immediately.

Even during the slow season in publishing, it’s exciting to find some additional reads for your TBR. Here are a few more on my radar:

And that’s the end of today’s newsletter! You can find me on Twitter @kimthedork, on email at, and co-hosting the For Real podcast here at Book Riot. This week we talked about a bunch of books celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo moon landing. It’s out of this world! – Kim