Sometimes the word "how" can be used, not to indicate "in what manner", or in any other meaning, but somewhat like "that".
In the question confusing hows: (i) used to express surprise, pleasure, etc. (ii) the fact that, the way that, Ghosty said:
In the first example on page 109, "how" can be replaced by "the fact that".
laughing at how a wide-mouthed tree frog would
laughing at the fact that a wide-mouthed tree frog would
Again in the Capone example:
referring to how Capone was eventually
referring to the fact that Capone was eventually
and StoneyB said
How3 has taken on what OED 1, How, 10., calls a ‘weakened meaning’ (I would call it a ‘generalized’ meaning) equivalent to the complementizer that. Three of your examples reflect this use:
4 ... how it had gone all silver and pointy
5 ... how a wide-mouthed tree frog would be replacing Harry
6 ... how Capone was eventually charged with tax evasion
When would you use "how" in this sense, and when would you use "that" instead?
Is "how" more casual and conversational?