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anna delvey

Rachel Williams’ Memoir Outs Fake Heiress & Con Artist Anna Delvey

Forbes reports that former Vanity Fair photo editor Rachel Williams will be releasing My Friend Anna: The True Story of the Fake Heiress Who Conned Me and Half of New York City, a memoir that expands upon on her viral essay about the time she spent with con artist Anna Sorokin.

The memoir will detail her friendship with the infamous Anna Delvey, Sorokin’s con artist persona who pretended to be a German heiress living off a trust fund, staying at luxury hotels, and defrauding New York’s wealthiest. (Well, that last part she didn’t pretend to do. She DID defraud New York’s wealthiest, and she maintained the charade for longer than anyone could have imagined.)


my friend annaImage via Forbes


Williams once joined Sorokin on a trip to Marrakech, which she assumed the ostentatiously wealthy Sorokin would pay for. ‘Delvey’ was known for generosity with her funds, frequently tipping hotel staff $100 bills for tasks as simple as delivering a package. Of course, this was a part of the charade: grand gestures intended to convince other that money was unimportant to her. Williams, convinced of Sorokin’s wealth, ended up paying the $7,000-a-night hotel fee with her own credit card. She was cheated out of $62,000, and her ex-friend never paid her back as promised.

However, karma prevailed. Sorokin was convicted last week of second-degree larceny, as well as theft of services and first-degree attempted grand larceny.

Williams revealed her motivations for writing the book:




The book is being described as Sex and the City meets Catch Me if You Can, and it’s already on its way to the screen. Girls creator and star Lena Dunham is adapting Williams’ memoir for HBO, and Jennifer Lawrence and Margot Robbie have both expressed interest in the lead role. Shonda Rhimes is writing a series about Sorokin for Netflix as well.


Rachel Williams
Image via Forbes


V.P. Editorial Director of Gallery Books (My Friend Anna publisher), Aimee Bell, also praised the memoir as the foremost record of the fake heiress scandal:


My Friend Anna is the definitive account of the Anna Delvey story, with never-before-revealed behind-the-scenes details—from the beginning of the author’s friendship with Anna in downtown New York, to their ill-fated trip to Marrakech, to the Manhattan courtroom where the con woman was convicted.


My Friend Anna will arrive in July of this year.



Featured Image via Rolling Stone

The Family That Inspired the Language of Food in Alyson Richman’s ‘The Secret of Clouds’

Alyson Richman’s latest novel, The Secret of Clouds, is, as she puts it, her ‘love letter to teachers.’ Exploring the transformative bond between an ill child, Yuri, and his tutor, Maggie, the novel was inspired by Richman’s extraordinary friend, the type of person you don’t come across every day. Christina is a third grade teacher, who, each year, has her class write a letter to their eighteen-year-old selves. Christina then keeps the letters and mails them to the children upon their graduation from high school. Richman was understandably intrigued by Christina’s commitment to creating such a moving time capsule for each of her students and has since revealed that Maggie, the passionate, dedicated teacher in The Secret of Clouds is directly inspired by Christina. But Christina’s dedication to her students is not the only thing about her that helped to shape the novel. 


Alyson Richman and The Secret of Clouds
Alyson Richman and The Secret of Clouds | Image Via An Unlikely Story


Christina comes from an Italian-American family for whom food is, she tells me, “a priority, the number one way to reinforce in family and friends that we care.” Family meals are made to bond over, and when Christina was growing up, they were an unmissable daily ritual. Shopping and cooking for events and holidays were family activities, as was the growing of organic herbs and vegetables, the creation of individual menus and place settings for each dinner guest. Christina’s mother, Josephine, was the most instrumental in cultivating the family’s love of food; to this day, she continues to experiment with new and exciting dishes to try out on friends, family, and anyone else who might pass through the house. If a teacher calls to see one of Christina’s children, they will inevitably leave with a tray of scones, the existence of which Christina will be unaware of until the teacher informs her of the kind gesture days later.

Upon getting to know them, Richman too became a beneficiary of the family’s love of food. “If I was down, lasagne would appear at my front door,” she recalls. “If I did some extra carpooling for Christina’s kids, Josephine would bake cookies.” Richman was inspired by the way in which she observed food operating as a language of love for Christina and her family. “One of the things I’m interested in,” she explains, “is trying to explore the different ways we communicate and the different forms of languages in life.” This curiosity abounds in her work; for example, her novel The Garden of Letters, which follows a cellist in World War II Italy and explores how people in the resistance used creative means to transmit essential information. In The Secret of Clouds, Richman wanted to show the ways in which we communicate when words escape us. When something happens in the story that leaves the characters at a loss for words, Maggie’s mother (in the tradition of Josephine) makes lasagne as a way of reaching out and showing care.

Over the years, Christina has found that Josephine’s philosophy of food as caregiving never fails. When a cousin of her mother’s had complained to Josephine about her children being too busy to make time to come and see her, Josephine advised, “cook for them, don’t complain if they have to leave early, and they will come.” And it worked. The cousin came back the next week, saying, “Josephine that was the best advice. I just said I”m making a pot of sauce and I’m making plenty of meatballs and before I knew it I had a full house! I think you’re right. I think I have to cook.”

“If you think about it,’ Christina continues, “in our busy lives, we all have to eat, you wind up having quality family time you might not have had anyway.”

The Secret of Clouds also uses food to bridge cultural divides. When Maggie first arrives in Yuri’s home, his father is making kasha, a fortifying meal from his native Ukraine; he invites her to try some. Later, Yuri explains that because his father is Jewish and his mother is Greek Orthodox, they have created their own Christmas tradition of cooking and eating pierogis. Richman says she wanted to “highlight what unites rather than divides… Food mirrors the sentiment that regardless of where you come from, or who you are, it’s something that we all connect with. Food is a universal language, easily understood through our own personal traditions.” 


Christina tells me that although her family is entirely Italian, part of the joy they take in cooking and eating is becoming acquainted with other cultures. “We have an ‘international cuisine’ flair in our family. We have such appreciation for food from everywhere. [My mother] even made corned beef and cabbage on St Patrick’s Day! She loves cooking and learning about the way other people cook. It’s the perfect hobby for her because it involves showing people she cares.” 

It was an honor to speak with the author and gain insight into the inspiration for this beautiful novel, to deeper understand the myriad ways in which human beings connect and take care of each other through the universal language of food. If you’d like to learn more about how Christina inspired The Secret of Clouds, check out our article ‘The Incredible Teacher Who Inspired Alyson Richman’s The Secret of Clouds here.



Grab your paperback copy of The Secret of Clouds, which includes Josephine’s lasagne recipe! Make it yourself at home or with your book club, and show those around you just how much you care. 

The Ultimate Summer 2019 Reading Guide

Summer 2019 promises to be a stellar reading season. The Great Thoughts’s list has you covered for all genres. Go forth, use sunscreen and read…


For the Fabulous Fiction Lovers…



The Big Disruption: A Totally Fictional But Essentially True Silicon Valley Story by Jessica Powell




The Big Disruption: A Totally Fictional But Essentially True Silicon Valley Story by Jessica Powell is a rip-roaring comedy about big plans and bigger egos at the world’s largest tech company. Medium published this book as its first print book. A prince in exile is working as a product manager. The sales guys are battling with the engineers. The women employees are the unwitting subjects of a wild social experiment. Plan to laugh out loud!


The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abby Waxman



The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abby Waxman It’s time for Nina to come out of her comfortable shell, but she isn’t convinced real life could ever live up to fiction. It’s going to take a brand-new family, a persistent suitor, and the combined effects of ice cream and trivia to make her turn her own fresh page. Such a feel-good book!

The Floating Feldmans by Elyssa Friedland



The Floating Feldmans by Elyssa Friedland- Sink or swim. Or at least that’s what Annette Feldman tells herself when she books a cruise for her entire family. It’s been over a decade since the Feldman clan has spent more than twenty-four hours under the same roof, but Annette is determined to celebrate her seventieth birthday the right way. Just this once, they are going to behave like an actual family. Too bad her kids didn’t get the memo. Plan a family trip soon or don’t!

Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner



Mrs. Everything by Jennifer WeinerJennifer Weiner wrote a super smart, thoughtful, and timely exploration of two sisters’ lives from the 1950s to the present as they struggle to find their places—and be true to themselves—in a rapidly evolving world. Mrs. Everything is an ambitious, richly textured journey through history—and herstory—as these two sisters navigate a changing America over the course of their lives. This book is perfection and everything!


Waisted by Randy Susan Meyers



Waisted by Randy Susan MeyersIn this provocative, wildly entertaining, and compelling novel, seven women enrolled in an extreme weight loss documentary discover self-love and sisterhood as they enact a daring revenge against the exploitative filmmakers. With each pound lost, they edge deeper into obsession and instability…until they decide to take matters into their own hands. Perfect for any woman who has tried to lose weight.


Like Thrillers?


Dear Wife by Kimberly Belle



Dear Wife by Kimberly Belle- Belle thrills yet again in this riveting new novel of suspense about a woman who, in a fight for survival, must decide just how far she’ll go to escape the person she once loved The only thing that’s certain is that someone is lying and the truth won’t stay buried for long. Prepare to be blown away!


Girls Like Us by Cristina Alger



Girls Like Us by Cristina Alger- Bestselling Alger mesmerizes again when worlds collide when an FBI agent investigates a string of grisly murders on Long Island that raises the impossible question: What happens when the primary suspect is your father? An OMG read that you cannot put down.

The Favorite Daughter by Kaira Rouda



The Favorite Daughter by Kaira Rouda- From the author of Best Day Ever, another gripping novel of psychological suspense set in an upscale Southern California community, No one creates a narcissist like Rouda. The perfect home. The perfect family. The perfect lie. A Wow read that will have you floored.


Layover by David Bell



Layover by David Bell- In this high concept psychological suspense novel, a chance meeting with a woman in an airport sends a man on a pulse-pounding quest for the truth. Read this one on a plane! The quintessential vacation read!


The Night Before by Wendy Walker



The Night Before by Wendy Walker-  Riveting and compulsive, The Night Before takes you to deep, dark places few thrillers dare to go as two sisters uncover long-buried secrets when an internet date spirals out of control. A new definition of sisterly love!


A Taste For Historical Fiction…



The Chelsea Girls by Fiona Davis



The Chelsea Girls by Fiona DavisDavis delivers the bright lights of the theater district, the glamour and danger of 1950s New York, and the wild scene at the iconic Chelsea Hotel come together in a dazzling new novel about the twenty-year friendship that will irrevocably change two women’s lives. Fabulous dance through history.


The Last Collection: A Novel of Elsa Schiaparelli and Coco Chanel by Jeanne Mackin




The Last Collection: A Novel of Elsa Schiaparelli and Coco Chanel by Jeanne Mackin An American woman becomes entangled in the intense rivalry between iconic fashion designers Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli in this captivating novel. Their fierce competition reaches new and dangerous heights as the Nazis and the looming threat of World War II bear down on Paris. An exceedingly well-dressed historical catfight.


Meet Me in Monaco by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb



Meet Me in Monaco by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb Set in the 1950s against the backdrop of Grace Kelly’s whirlwind romance and unforgettable wedding to Prince Rainier of Monaco, Meet Me in Monaco takse the reader on an evocative sun-drenched journey along the Côte d’Azur in this page-turning novel of passion, fate and second chances… Royally fabulous!


Park Avenue Summer by Renee Rosen



Park Avenue Summer by Renee Rosen- A fabulous novel about an incredible woman… Helen Gurley Brown. It’s 1965 and Cosmopolitan magazine’s brazen new editor-in-chief—Helen Gurley Brown—shocks America and saves a dying publication by daring to talk to women about all things off-limits… Hello Pussycat!


The Summer Country by Lauren Willig



The Summer Country by Lauren WilligA brilliant, multigenerational saga in the tradition of The ThornbirdsThe Summer Country delivers in a big, bold and ambitious novel—a sweeping Victorian epic of lost love, lies, jealousy, and rebellion set in colonial Barbados. Read with a tropical drink!


The Golden Hour by Beatriz Williams



The Golden Hour by Beatriz WilliamsWilliams creates a dazzling epic of World War II-era Nassau—a hotbed of spies, traitors, and the most infamous couple of the age, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. A masterpiece!


Vacation Reads (or books to read if you wish you were vacationing)…



Drawing Home by Jamie Brenner



Drawing Home by Jamie BrennerAn unexpected inheritance, a promise broken, and four lives changed forever in the newest page-turner from Jamie Brenner. Drawn together in their battle for the house, Emma and Bea are forced to confront the past while facing a future that challenges everything they believe about love, fate, and family. You’ll want this house!


The Favorite Daughter by Patti Callahan Henry



The Favorite Daughter by Patti Callahan Henry- From Callahan Henry, here is a lush, heart-wrenching novel about the power of memory, the meaning of family, and learning to forgive in a journey to discover the true meaning of home. A beautiful book!


The Summer Guests by Mary Alice Monroe



The Summer Guests by Mary Alice Monroe- From the amazing author of the Beach House series comes a heartwarming and evocative novel about the bonds and new beginnings that are born from natural disasters and how, even during the worst of circumstances—or perhaps because of them—we discover what is most important in life.  Drink a hurricane and savor this book!

Summer of ’69 by Elin Hilderbrand



Summer of ’69 by Elin Hilderbrand- Four siblings experience the drama, intrigue, and upheaval of a summer when everything changedin New York Times bestselling author Elin Hilderbrand’s first historical novel. As always, Hilderbrand delivers a blockbuster. Captivating read!


Sunset Beach by Mary Kay Andrews



Sunset Beach by Mary Kay Andrews- Pull up a lounge chair and have a cocktail at Sunset Beach – it comes with a twist. Sunset Beach is a compelling ride, full of Mary Kay Andrews’ signature wit, heart, and charm. The reigning Queen of the beach read does it again! Here’s to Summer!


The Unbreakables by Lisa Barr



The Unbreakables by Lisa Barr- A delicious, sharp novel about a woman who jets off to France after her perfect marriage collapses, putting the broken pieces of herself back together while rediscovering her own joie de vivrea lust for life, art, and steamy sex. A macaron of a novel!


Romancey Rom-Com Reads




Ayesha At Last by Usma Jalaluddin



Ayesha At Last by Usma Jalaluddin A modern-day Muslim Pride and Prejudice for a new generation of love. When a surprise engagement is announced between Khalid and Hafsa, Ayesha is torn between how she feels about the straightforward Khalid and the unsettling new gossip she hears about his family. Khalid meet Mr. Darcy!


The Bride Test by Helen Hoang



The Bride Test by Helen Hoang Hoang again delivers a romantic novel about love that crosses international borders and all boundaries of the heart… Khai Diep has no feelings. His family knows better—that his autism means he just processes emotions differently. When he steadfastly avoids relationships, his mother takes matters into her own hands and returns to Vietnam to find him the perfect bride. Hot Perfection!


The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez



The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez Kristen Peterson doesn’t do drama, will fight to the death for her friends, and has no room in her life for guys who just don’t get her. She’s also keeping a big secret: facing a medically necessary procedure that will make it impossible for her to have children. Prepare to laugh and cry!


Love at First Like by Hannah Orenstein



Love at First Like by Hannah Orenstein  Roth and her sister Sophie co-own a jewelry shop in Brooklyn. One night, after learning of an ex’s engagement, Eliza accidentally posts a photo of herself wearing a diamond ring on that finger to her Instagram account beloved by 100,000 followers. Sales skyrocket, press rolls in, and Eliza learns that her personal life is good for business. Fake fiancé anyone?


Red White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston



Red White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston  When his mother became President, Alex Claremont-Diaz was promptly cast as the American equivalent of a young royal. There’s only one problem: Alex has a beef with the actual prince, Henry, across the pond. And when the tabloids get hold of a photo involving an Alex-Henry altercation, U.S./British relations take a turn for the worse. A beautiful love story!


For the Non-Fiction Reader:



The Great Connecting: The Emergence of Global Broadband, and How That Changes Everything by Jim Cashel



The Great Connecting: The Emergence of Global Broadband, and How That Changes Everything by Jim Cashel-  Right now, only half of the world’s population has internet access but very soon, the whole planet will be connected and everything will change. What will this transformative event in modern human history mean for society? The remarkable possibilities!


The Wrong End of the Table A Mostly Comic Memoir of a Muslim Arab American Woman Just Trying to Fit In by Ayser Salman



The Wrong End of the Table A Mostly Comic Memoir of a Muslim Arab American Woman Just Trying to Fit In by Ayser Salman  You know that feeling like you’re at a party but all the good stuff is happening out of earshot (#FOMO)? What happens when a shy, awkward Arab girl with a weird name and an unfortunate propensity toward facial hair is uprooted from her comfortable homeland of Iraq and thrust into the cold, alien town of Columbus, Ohio—with its Egg McMuffins, Barbie dolls, and kids playing doctor everywhere you turned? A delightful page-turner.

Citizen Capitalism by Lynn Stout, Sergio Albert Gramitto, Tamara Belinfanti



Citizen Capitalism by Lynn Stout, Sergio Albert Gramitto, Tamara Belinfanti Corporations have a huge influence on the life of every citizen–this book offers a visionary but practical plan to give every citizen a say in how corporations are run while also gaining some supplemental income. It lays out a clear approach that uses the mechanisms of the private market to hold corporations accountable to the public. Unlock the positive power of corporations.


Andrea Peskind Katz is an avid reader, a book reviewer, and founder of the book blog Great Thoughts and Great Thought’s Great Readers Book Salon on Facebook.


Upcoming ‘The Council of Dads’ Adaptation Tackles Mortality & Fatherhood

Each person we’re close with makes us feel a specific and inimitable way—every relationship is different. We are different with different people. Friends, coworkers, and acquaintances all make up the eternally-growing tapestry of our lives. We may grow apart from old friends and make new ones along the way, but the relationships we form will always be a part of who we were and are. In this way, the characters we spend time with are a direct reflection of ourselves. This is the notion that occurred to Bruce Feiler when he was tasked with facing his own mortality.


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In 2008, doctors told writer Bruce Feiler there was a cancerous tumor in his femur. Almost immediately, Bruce’s thoughts turned to his children. His three-year-old twin daughters. If he wasn’t around, who would advise them paternally? Tell them to put away their phones at the dinner table and take it easy on the family Suburban? He wanted them to know him. So he made a list of all the qualities of himself he wanted his girls to know and associated them with men he had known throughout his life. He had known these men since the playground, college, and various business ventures—men he trusted but may have lost touch with. He wrote them all letters, six in total, asking them to be a father to his daughters if the worst were to happen.


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The worst didn’t happen, and the council was never fully activated, but Feiler’s story became the foundation of his book, The Council of Dads: My Daughters, My Illness, and the Men Who Could Be Me. The memoir became a best-seller and has now, according to Deadline, inspired a television show which was just picked up by NBC. Council of Dads stars Sarah Wayne Callies, Clive Standen, Tom Everett Scott, and J. August Richards. The show tells the story of Scott (quasi Bruce played by Clive Standen) and his family after he receives a potentially terminal diagnosis. Facing this grim prognosis, Scott and his wife (Sarah Wayne Callies) assemble a group of their closest three friends to help guide Scott’s family through all of life’s challenges. Deadline goes on to give us a preview of who these three influential men are as people:

The trusted group of role models Scott has assembled to help his family include his oldest friend Anthony, his AA sponsor Alrry and his surgeon and wife’s best friend Oliver. The three men agree to devote themselves to supporting and guiding Scott’s family through “all the triumphs and challenges life has to offer — just in case he ever can’t be there to do so himself.


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NBC is undoubtedly aiming for the type of drama associated with their uber-successful This Is Us in its Council of Dads pickupHopefully, the show will produce the same amount of tearfully smiling faces that the former has. Tony Phelan and Joan Rater will write and executive produce along with Jerry Bruckheimer, Jonathan Littman, and Kristie Anne Reed. The pilot was directed by James Strong.


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