Take 5 – the books I wouldn't part with: Philippa Werry
Books I wouldn't part with? So many! There are some that encapsulate personal history; others that it's just good to have on a shelf, so you can reach for them whenever you want but if I have to make a list, it is:
The Golden Treasury of Poetry - selected by Louis Untermeyer and illustrated by Joan Walsh Anglund: I bought this with my first book token for getting 100 points writing for the Evening Post Children's Page, aged 8. I loved the whimsical illustrations and the categories, everything from Creatures of every kind and Unforgettable stories to Laughter holding both his sides and Good things in small packages.
South East Asia on a Shoestring, published by Lonely Planet in 1982: When my husband David and I set off across Asia in the mid-1980s, it wasn't long after Maureen and Tony Wheeler had done the same, then set up a publishing company on their kitchen table. This was only their second title, after Across Asia on the Cheap. It's an evocative reminder of days of travel pre-social media, when you still used guidebooks instead of Google maps, making a phone call home was a big deal and you swapped travel tips with other backpackers as you queued to pick up your mail at poste restante offices.
Somewhere in this list has to be a book by Jane Austen (or Miss Austen, as my English teacher Ida Gaskin used to call her). It could have been Pride and Prejudice or Persuasion but during last summer's binge-rereading of all the main novels, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed Mansfield Park. Fanny Price wasn't as wimpish as I remembered, her bond with her brother William is warm and affectionate and the scenes in Portsmouth are wonderful and make you think about Jane Austen's relationships with her own adored brothers, especially Francis and Charles who both served in the Royal Navy and must have shared many naval stories with her.
Anything by Kate Atkinson, who takes up a large section of our book shelves. Maybe Life after Life or A God in Ruins. Or something with Jackson Brodie in it. But anything.
Only one book left and I was going to ask if it could be a library card, because libraries have always been a big part of my life and continue to be so, even with our Central Library (sadly) closed at the moment. But that would be cheating, strictly speaking, so I'm going with one of the picture books that I read so many times to our three daughters, and now have the joy of reading to a new grandson. There are many to choose from (it could have been The Great White Man-eating Shark or The Lion in the Meadow or The Nickle Nackle Tree - just saying) , but I'm going with The Tiger who came to Tea by Judith Kerr, a wonderful book by a treasure of a writer who died just a few weeks ago, aged 95.
•Philippa Werry writes fiction, non-fiction, poetry and plays for children and young adults. Her latest book, Antarctic Journeys (New Holland, $25.50) is out now, while her book The Telegram has been shortlisted for the Wright Family Foundation Esther Glen Award for Junior Fiction at this year's New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.