Don't ask me why this book has escaped my attention for so long, seeing how much I love Ralph Waldo Emerson's work. While I already knew him as a wonderful poet, I admittedly haven't been all that familiar with his person and life.
In First We Read, Then We Write: Emerson On The Creative Process Robert D. Richardson presents a marvelous and engaging little manual digging deep into the central passion of Emerson's life, who was literally in love and addicted to books. Mainly focusing on the important interconnection of reading and writing, it also thematizes the need to reflect on nature for language, the recommendation of keeping a journal or earning the attention of the audience. The reader gains not only an understanding of what fueled Emerson's creative process, but will learn a lot for own literary endeavors. This sophisticated and wonderfully engrossing book is filled with practical hints and speaks to the poet in each of us.
I recommend reading this book along with Emerson's The Poet which is one of the most significant works on expressionism in literature. Best enjoyed on a quiet afternoon with no distractions around, this is the kind of book you will want to dip in more than just once and it will reward you with new and deeper insights every time.
In short: A delightful little book on my own two passions - reading and writing - this is definitely a must-read for every author!