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How bottle trees keep each other close   

This week
"People ought to seek out the genuine pleasure of de-centering themselves," Jia Tolentino said in an interview I read this week. YES, I thought. YES! She was speaking about the way that lists of books by Black authors have been suggested to non-Black readers as an "eat your vegetables" learning experience or a duty to be fulfilled—when, in fact, it is a joy to be taken outside of your highly specific perspective and into someone else's.

This sentiment also applies to how I feel about having co-authored a book. I can't tell you that the writing process was pleasurable in every single minute, but finding the center between me and Aminatou, and creating a single narrative of our two very different experiences in this friendship, was deeply rewarding. I'm sure I will go on to write many more things by myself, but this is just one reason our book is so special to me.

Big Friendship officially comes out on Tuesday—although, because everything is weird right now, many people have already received their copies. So it is both out in the world and... not out quite yet. (Turns out that even fixed dates are meaningless in a pandemic!) Anyway, The New York Times calls it a "thoughtful and highly readable story." We're in The Atlantic chatting about why we needed an expanded vocabulary for friendship. We took over the Girls' Night In newsletter, where we recommend our favorite cheesy dips, among other things. We list some of our favorite friendship books over at Goodreads. And we've been doing a lot of interviews on other podcasts, which you can find here. (I promise I won't spam you with book promo every single week. Today is an exception.)

On Call Your Girlfriend today, we read an excerpt. Think of it as a teaser for the audiobook, which is produced kind of like a podcast: It features our own voices, interview clips so you can hear our sources speaking their own words, and an incredible soundtrack composed by Carolyn Pennypacker Riggs. Another genuine pleasure! 

I'm reading
"The sun was beating down on me, and I thought about my trip to Africa, my mother in the cotton fields, the history that I would never know. The names of my family that were forever erased from history. The names of many Black women are often lost to history." Vanessa Guillen's family demands change in how the military handles reports of sexual harassment and assault. "When people dismiss abolitionists for not caring about victims or safety, they tend to forget that we are those victims, those survivors of violence." The Supreme Court affirms tribal sovereignty in Oklahoma, and jeopardizes birth control access for 61.4 million people. How race and racism have played out in one small Ohio town. The damning racial inequality of coronovirus impact. Pandemic experts are really struggling. Understanding pandemic food supply chains through the lens of one $20 cheeseburger. This advice for hiring baristas can teach all bosses about diversifying their searches. Who gets to be reckless on Wall Street? What we lose when retail stores disappear. When your boss is replaced by a robot. How nebulous the term "cancel culture" actually is. Why time feels so strange in 2020—it's basically a spiral. Fantastic, candid interviews with Michaela Coel and Thandie Newton. The Black women uncredited for their contribution to house music. "I find it funny how I, as a Black woman, know so much about White hair." The Dreadhead Cowboy on how "Everything I’m doing is for the future." A guide to living decadently without alcohol. The end of the bra.

And Mia Birdsong's book How We Show Up, which I underlined furiously. It is all about ambitious, future-oriented models for living in community with each other.


Pie chart
The Pandemic Party Pie

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I’m looking & listening
This Land podcast explains the significance of the Supreme Court ruling on the reservation status of Eastern Oklahoma. Disclosure, about Hollywood's impact on the trans community.  Jeff Bezos' wealth visualized in grains of rice.

GIFspiration
Mucho Mucho Amor, the documentary about beloved astrologer Walter Mercado, made me laugh, cry, and break out my bedazzler.

I endorse
Leaving a public comment to stop the Trump administration from gutting asylum. Last month, the administration proposed sweeping changes that would dramatically limit who can seek refuge in the United States. The new rules would completely eliminate gender-based asylum, which is how many LGBTQ+ people and those fleeing domestic violence seek safety in the U.S. The comment period is open until July 15, so make a note on your calendar to do it this week.

Book events
We are doing some virtual events to celebrate the release of Big Friendship:

Mon, JULY 13 - Books Are Magic, in conversation with Samin Nosrat
Tue, JULY 14 - UK book launch with Ada’s List
Tue, JULY 14 - Death, Sex and Money livestream with Anna Sale (You can submit your friendship questions to deathsexmoney@wnyc.org.)
Thur, JULY 16 - Sixth & I DC, in conversation with Mari Andrew
Mon, JULY 27 - King County Library, in conversation with Alicia Garza

All of these events are in different time zones and have different ticketing processes, so click through to get all the details! 

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Ann Friedman
AF WEEKLY

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