DC Reads 2020
Events | Activities | Discussion Questions | Read-a-Likes
About DC Reads | About the Book | About the Author
Be part of a community that reads together! Starting Nov. 10, join us for a new DC Reads of Mira Jacob's Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations. The Library will host community conversations and share resources for your enjoyment of this rich graphic memoir.
DC Reads is a DC Public Library program that promotes citywide conversations focused on a single book. We will have robust access to Good Talk through both print and eBook copies available for download on Overdrive collection. Join the conversation by using the hashtag #DCReads on Twitter.
Temporary cards, which are valid for 90 days and can be used for all digital resources, can be obtained online.
Like many six-year-olds, Mira Jacob’s half-Jewish, half-Indian son, Z, has questions about everything. At first, they are innocuous enough, but as tensions from the 2016 election spread from the media into his own family, they become much, much more complicated. Trying to answer him honestly, Mira has to think back to where she’s gotten her own answers: her most formative conversations about race, color, sexuality, and, of course, love.
Written with humor and vulnerability, this deeply relatable graphic memoir is a love letter to the art of conversation—and to the hope that hovers in our most difficult questions.
Mira Jacob is the author of the critically acclaimed novel The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing. Her recent work has appeared in The New York Times Book Review, Vogue, Glamour, Tin House, Electric Literature and Literary Hub. She lives in Brooklyn.
Art AfterWords with the National Portrait Gallery, Tuesday, Nov. 10, 5:30 p.m. - As part of our ongoing series with the National Portrait Gallery, we will discuss Good Talk as well as a portrait of Jhumpa Lahiri from their current exhibition Her Story: A Century of Women Writers
Author Talk with Mira Jacob, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2 p.m. - Join us for an online discussion with Good Talk's author Mira Jacob. In conversation with Hannah Depp Oliver of Loyalty Bookstore, Jacob will discuss the book and its themes and art. Tune in to our Facebook and YouTube live channels. Our featured bookseller is Loyalty Bookstore which will have the book on sale.
Talking about Microagressions, A Panel Discussion - Thursday, Nov. 19, 7 p.m. - In Good Talk, we see some of the challenges that Mira Jacob experiences as a woman of color through daily slights and microagressions from white people. Join us for a group dialogue on this topic as it is seen in the book with DCPL's Philip Espe, Lupita Aquino of Lupita Reads, local poet Regie Cabico, and Ashleigh Coren of the National Portrait Gallery.
Teen Talks with DC Public Library's Teen Council - Mondays, Nov. 16, 23, and 30, 4 p.m. - Members of the Library's Teen Council will lead three afternoon conversations about Good Talk focused. The conversations will touch on the topics of memoir, labels, and identity. Tune into these conversations on the Library's YouTube channel.
Make Your Own Good Talk - You too can make your own Good Talk graphic dialogue in the same style as Jacob. Use this guide to make a short Good Talk based on a conversation in your own life and share it on social media (Twitter or Instagram) using the tags #DCReads and #GoodTalk. Our video below will give you some more tips for making your Good Talk.
The following questions encourage readers to reflect on the conversations that make up this book and their themes.
1. Jacob uses drawings of herself, her family, and the people around her against backdrops of found images and recognizable landscapes. How does that engage the reader?
2. What do you think the reader is able to learn about Jacob and her life as she is conveying these conversations rather than a linear biography? How much more of Jacob do we get through what she selects as being important?
3. There are several historical events that Jacob uses as pivotal points in her memoir, including 9/11, the 2008 presidential election, and the 2016 election. Talk about how Jacob keeps them in conversation with her own life, and with each other, and how they impact the conversations she and others are having.
4. What role does Jacob’s son, Z, play in the narrative? How does his presence as a child shape how we view these conversations and their importance? What do Z’s responses help us realize?
5. A lot of Jacob’s conversations within the Indian community center around the color of her skin or her marriage opportunities. How does that shape the way that Jacob’ illustrates her own story and how does it shape the way we view her story? In Chapter 4 (ends on page 37) Jacob shares how she learned that “dark meant ugly.” How young was she? Who taught her that? Do you or anyone you know share similar memories? Would you feel comfortable sharing? What does this tell us about race, colorism, our biases?
6. Talk about the juxtaposition of Jacob’s own dating experiences and sexuality with her family’s expectations of her to marry an Indian man. What does that reflect about the experience of first generation Americans? How does Jacob talk about sexuality directly and indirectly?
7. What does “good talk” mean in the context of this memoir and the conversations that Jacobs included?
8. If you were writing a memoir of your life in conversations, what conversation would you start with as your jumping off point? What would be pivotal conversations you would include throughout the story? What historical events would you include conversations about?