Tara Calaby

author, historian & phd candidate

Extinction Notice

I have a short story, “Earth-seed” in the new cli-fi anthology Extinction Notice: Tales of a Warming Earth. It’s a huge collection of stories, poetry and songs, and all profits will be donated to environmental charities, so I encourage you to check it out at http://outskirtspress.com/davidwatson!

September Reading

Another low-book month due to research commitments and overall exhaustion!

August Reading, 2021

I’ve been focusing on research other than books of late, and have been too exhausted to do much reading for pleasure, so there weren’t many books this month.

July Reading, 2021

My reading is still very much PhD-dominated at the moment, so apologies for the repetitive nature of my mini-reviews.

June Reading, 2021

Lots of PhD reading again in June… and this list doesn’t even include all of the journal articles! I did manage to grab a little fiction reading time, and utterly loved both of the novels I finished.

THOUGHTS: Flaubert’s Parrot (Julian Barnes)

I am terrible at reviews, so instead I present you with a collection of quotes from Flaubert’s Parrot that spoke to me particularly loudly while reading it.

May Reading, 2021

Another very PhD-focused reading month, which meant that I only read the one novel (and even then, that was PhD-adjacent). I did enjoy it, though! My favourite read this month was Stay Sexy and Don’t Get Murdered by Karen Kilgariff & Georgia Hardstark, which was way more thinky than I was expecting it to be and just very good in general.

April Reading, 2021

My April reading was predominantly PhD focused, which means that I actually only read two works of fiction. It also means that, when you gather all my brief reviews together, it becomes very clear that I am not very creative when it comes to reviewing academic books!

My favourite reads this month were Neo-Victorian Fiction and Historical Narrative: The Victorians and Us by Louisa Hadley and History and Cultural Memory in Neo-Victorian Fiction: Victorian Afterimages by Kate Mitchell. Apparently I like books on Neo-Victorian fiction.

March Reading, 2021

Every so often I try to be a better reviewer, and shortly afterwards realise that my head really doesn’t work that way. I do want to talk about the things I’ve been reading, though, so I’m going to experiment with a monthly post that includes copies of the book-thoughts I post on Goodreads/Library Thing and perhaps a bit of extra commentary.  

March was a bit unusual for me, because I had surgery at the end of February and was therefore going through various stages of recovery during March. Because of this, I was mostly watching reality TV at the beginning of the month. That said, I did eventually do some reading, much of it PhD-focused.

My favourite fictional read this month was easily The Serpent’s Skin, by Erina Reddan—such a strong, original voice! As for non-fiction, I particularly enjoyed Prostitution and Victorian Society, by Judith R. Walkowitz, which combined thorough research and an engaging writing style.

REVIEW: The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka (Clare Wright)

For someone who grew up in Australia, I have read very little about the Eureka Stockade. I’m sure I would have been shown the location while on a grade five school camp to Ballarat, but I have much stronger memories of dressing in period costume at Sovereign Hill and learning to write on a slate. Miners’ rebellions over such dull things as taxes just don’t rate with children, it seems.

The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka, therefore, is the first in-depth account of the Stockade, and all of the events—major and minor—that led up to what occurred in Ballarat in December 1854. It’s very well suited to me, too, as the focus is largely on the women of Ballarat, and it is a social and political history, rather than a military history of events.

Clare Wright’s writing style is contemporary, informal, and often poetic.  She makes extensive use of quotes from diaries, letters and newspaper reports, so that the words of the people she’s talking about occupy almost as much space in the book as do her own. The formatting of the ebook edition I read made it difficult to distinguish block quotes from standard text, which was unfortunate and occasionally confusing, but I very much appreciated Wright’s commitment to allowing her subjects to speak for themselves where possible.

There is a lot of information here, so the book does feel very lengthy, and I found the first part less engaging than the latter parts, which were more focused on Ballarat itself. This isn’t a primer, but rather a collection of voices that is obviously the end product of an enormous amount of research.

I’m still not an expert on miners’ rebellions, but I come away from reading The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka knowing a lot more about the people involved with this rebellion in particular, and having a greater sense of why the Eureka Stockade is so often considered an important event in Australia’s history.  

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