The Syllabus

Welcome to Rebels Girls Book Club, or if two unqualified nerds concerned with social justice ran an English class. Through this podcast, we hope you’ll learn to critically evaluate media with a focus on its portrayal of power and equity. We also hope you’ll enjoy this activity as we collectively examine texts of all types. Our goal is to make close-reading fun. Lastly, we hope your examinations of the following texts will help guide how you choose to operate in this shit-show that is late-stage capitalism. And we want you to remember the joy and potential of humanity exhibited by storytelling.

Rebel Girls Book Club Season 4: This season we aim to examine hierarchal structures in the texts we read.

Guiding questions:

  • How much agency do our main characters have?
  • Do they gain this agency by exerting power or force over others?
  • Does the plot resolve via asserting hierarchy or by subverting it?
  • What can we take from this book into our own lives?
  • Does this book offer any prescriptions for operating in the larger world?

First Quarter:

September 12

Light From Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki

One Sentence Summary: Two lesbian Aunties, one a cold and glamorous Violin teacher with an affinity for hell and the other a donut shop-running alien, adopt a run-away trans girl and her broken violin.

Themes: Art, hope, apathy, love, self-confidence, cooperation, community

September 19

Miss Aldridge Regrets interview with the author Louise Hare

One Sentence Summary: A Good-for-her murder mystery set in the forties.

Themes: complicated women, being an outsider, being a bystander, isolation, and grief

September 26

Any Other Family interview with the author Eleanore Brown

One Sentence Summary: Three adoptive moms, all with children from the same bio family, confront their expectations and baggage regarding family and motherhood.

Themes: Family, motherhood, love, community, isolation, grief

October 3

Love, Activism, and the Respectable Life of Alice Dunbar-Nelson interview with author Dr. Tara T. Green

One Sentence Summary: a biography on the life and work of writer and activist Alice Dunbar-Nelson, who fought for black people and for the 19th amendment.

Themes: Black womanhood, queer womanhood, respectability politics, class politics, uplifting blackness, gender, activism.

October 10

House of Hunger by Alexis Henderson

October 17

Interview with Honor by Thrity Umrigar

October 24

The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White

“I thought to puncture heaven and instead I discovered hell.”

One Sentence Summary: This book is a retelling of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, following Elizabeth Lavenza as she is taken in by the Frankenstein family and develops a tumultuous and intense relationship with their son, Victor.

Themes: What does it mean to be a monster? Female solidarity. Classism. Abuse of power. Domestic violence.

October 31

November 7

The Man Who Could Move Clouds: A Memoir by Ingrid Rojas Contreras

November 14

Mother Country by Jacinda Townsend

November 21

Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer (up to page 201)

Themes: Knowledge structures, ecology, ethics of care

November 28

Braiding Sweetgrass Part 2

Please note that we reserve the right to change the syllabus as needed.