Blog Posts on Tall And True

Blogging is to writing what extreme sports are to athletics: more free-form, more accident-prone, less formal, more alive. It is, in many ways, writing out loud. ~ Andrew Sullivan

Tall And True showcases the writing — fiction, nonfiction, reviews and blog posts — of writer and podcaster Robert Fairhead. Guest Writers are also invited to share and showcase their writing on the website. 

Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Society

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

My teenage son was out for the night, so my wife lined up a British period drama movie on TV, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. I loved it, though I was thankful I had a box of tissues handy. And afterwards, I was keen to read the book upon which the movie was based.

Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom

Memories of Tuesdays with Morrie

I post a #bookcovers and #firstsentences homage series on Instagram featuring fiction and nonfiction from my bookcase. Sharing the posts has brought back many fond memories of dusty books I haven't read in years. And I recently shared a favourite tear-jerker, Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom.

Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond

First Sentences on Instagram

In April 2018, I published a writing tips article on Tall And True titled, Writing First Sentences. The piece was in part inspired by a homage series I have been posting to Instagram with photos of books and their opening sentences, tagged #bookcovers and #firstsentences (as @tallandtruebooks).

Queen - A Day at the Races

Albums That Changed Your Life

A friend nominated me for a Facebook challenge, the "Albums that changed your life". It also appears on social media as the "Ten album challenge", the "Pictorial music challenge", and the "Seven all-time favourite albums". Or more matter-of-factly as the "what-the-heck, I'm posting my favourites LPs!".

Europe Through the Back Door - Rick Steves

Travel Writing

I started "travel writing", recording journals of my travels when I left Australia in 1987 for two years backpacking and living abroad in England and Europe. I kept writing journals and diaries on my daily life in England and broader travels until I returned to Australia nine years later, in 1996.

Ian St James Awards 1990

Thanks, Ian St James Awards

In their heyday, the Ian St James Awards offered the biggest fiction prize in the UK and Ireland for unpublished writers. I submitted several short stories to the awards from 1992 to 1995. Unfortunately, none were finalists, let alone winners. But the judges' critiques inspired me to keep writing!

50 Bedtime Stories

Bedtime Stories

My son was born at 5:36 am on 2 June 2002. It had been a long night, and it was a long day (admittedly, more so for my wife!), and when I went home from the hospital that evening, it was with the surreal realisation I was a dad. I decided my first duty would be to buy a book of bedtime stories.

Microfiction Dream

Microfiction Dream

I once had a dream which felt so real and intense it reminded me of the 3rd-century BC Chinese Philosopher Chuang Chou, who dreamed, "I was a butterfly, fluttering hither and thither, to all intents and purposes a butterfly. I was conscious only of my happiness as a butterfly, unaware that I was Chou."

The Catcher in the Rye

Do You Reread Books?

Penguin Books asked a good question on Facebook last year: Do you reread books? I've kept all my favourite books with the thought of one day rereading them. And then I start a new book, and it's added to my bookcase to read again — one day! However, there are three books I have reread at least once.

Favourite Beatle - John Lennon

My Favourite Beatle

My earliest memory of The Beatles is from when I was a five-year-old. It wasn't their music, but an article in the local newspaper, with a photo of John, Paul and George hammering an oversized nail into Ringo's head. My mother tutted and told me they were silly to play with hammers and nails.

Teaspoons

Writing Can Be Lonely

Writing can be lonely, especially if you're living on your own in a cramped flat, in another country, far away from family and friends. So when I lived in Brighton in the early-1990s, I volunteered to work one afternoon a week at an Oxfam op shop. I needed to get out and meet and mingle with people.

Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham

My Love Affair With Somerset Maugham

I discovered Somerset Maugham in my early twenties when I borrowed a copy Of Human Bondage from a friend (which, to my shame, I never returned). The novel captivated me with its beautifully crafted tale of thwarted artistic ambition and unrequited love and sent me on a journey to read more Maughams.

Cloudstreet by Tim Winton

Cloudstreet by Tim Winton - Omen or Inspiration?

In May 1992, the Australian literary news was full of Tim Winton's success and his novel, Cloudstreet. And I thought it an omen. Winton was thirty-one years old, and I was thirty. He'd grown up in W.A., and so had I. He'd just won his second Miles Franklin, and I was having a second crack at being a writer!

The Gorilla Hunters by R.M. Ballantyne

The Gorilla Hunters

There were old tea chests in a spare room at my grandparents' house, from which my younger brother and I unearthed 78 RPM records, 1940s Film Fun Annuals and Biggles books that had belonged to my father and uncle as boys. But the greatest treasure for this boy was a mint copy of The Gorilla Hunters.

The Books You Read At School - Animal Farm by George Orwell

Books You Read At School

Ask anyone who, like me, was a kid in Australia in the 1970s, "What books did you read at school?" and we're likely to recall at least three novels. For me, these three are the classics, the ones I had to read, analyse and write essays on in English. And I still have copies of them in my bookcase!

Anne Frank's Diary

The Diary of Anne Frank

Like many, I learnt about Anne Frank's story as a school kid. But it wasn't until my thirties, living in England, that I appreciated the full grace and horror of her life. I saw a Brighton theatre production of The Diary of Anne Frank, read the Pan edition of her diary, and visited the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam.

Last Orders by Graham Swift

English Pubs and Last Orders

From 1987 to 1995, I lived in England and, as well as loving the English countryside, the quaint villages and towns, and the people, I loved the pubs. The pubs I frequented were social meeting places for men and women. And thankfully, not just somewhere for blokes to get plastered and start fights.

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