Athenaeum Literary Corner

Cornelius is a bibliophile who absolutely loves to talk about the goods and the bads in the books that he reads.

Come back regularly for honest reviews of popular books. 



Can exhaustion be a defining trait?

A personality, perhaps? 

When somebody asks me how I am and I respond


Is that okay? 

Does such a short response encapsulate the exhaustion?

How can five letters explain what a vast, ever expanding vocabulary cannot?

Do the bags I use to accessorize my eyes compliment today’s outfit? 

Leaving an overcast shadow over a smile,

hidden by cloth. 

I’m grateful for masks, 

Considering smiling makes me tired. 

Is it like that for anyone else?

Can anyone else sleep for an eternity and then some, 

and still wake up tired? 

Is tired the right word? 

I don’t think it is. 

Why does blinking make me sleepy?

Why does sleeping make me sleepy? 

There’s only so many espresso shots you can take

Until the caffeine doesn’t energize you the way it’s supposed to.

There’s only so many naps you can take,

Before you realize, physical burnout was never really the issue

Rupi Kaur... Overrated Poet 

Rupi Kaur, is a beloved 21st century poet who has published several best-selling books; including “Milk and Honey.” Rupi Kaur, is also, in my humble opinion, severely overrated. Upon first glance at her most popular works, I had honestly assumed that I was looking at an “inspirational quote”, however,  after further inspection, and to my horror, I soon realized that I was reading poetry. To me, a majority of her writing often sounds incomplete, or like a thought that has potential but needs additional time on the drawing board; it seems she attempts to distract the reader from the lack of depth with pretty pictures plastered onto every page. For reference, the following is her poem titled: “Don’t trust just anyone”


“if i knew what

safety looked like

i would have spent

less time falling into

arms that were not”


Underneath the writing, is a series of hands. 


That's it, that is the whole poem. 


I am first inclined to point out that spacing and vagueness does not make a statement into a poem. Secondly, the lack of punctuation does not at all aid her point, it simply makes her already odd statement into a run-on sentence. 


I think that the most disappointing thing about Kaur’s work is that she has the capacity to do better, to create better. Within her book, sandwiched between countless poems like the one shown above, are a few poems that showcase the talent that Ms. Kaur possesses. The talent that for whatever reason, she decides not to ignore in favor of publishing shower thoughts. There could be several reasons for this choice. For one, simplicity sells. Her writing is undeniably relatable and easy to digest, people like that. Furthermore, her works are often viewed as introductory poetry, with the purpose to draw people in and plant a seed of interest. Unfortunately, that seed only sprouts into an interest for poetry like Kaur’s. Other, less aesthetically pleasing writing, is consequently seen as unfavorable and dark. I’m sure we can all see the issue with that. 


TL;DR: In short, while I can’t say that Kaur’s writing is bad, I can and will say that her popular work is highly overrated. Yes, it makes for a fun read, but I recommend readers look into her “deeper” poems  if they’re looking for more authentic yet still mainstream poetry. 


by Cornelius

I really haven’t been doing well recently, and that’s not from a lack of trying- 

No, I’d say it’s more so from a lack of feeling. 

If only there were a way to describe it. 

It’s nothingness that somehow still manages to hurt. 

It hurts so much. 

It’s like.. feelings are just out of reach, and I’m stuck here, in this hopeless position. 

It’s knowing that I’m close but not close enough. 

It hurts. 

I promised myself I wouldn’t go into specifics,

the details are agonizing and no one’s problem but my own; 

it’s bad enough that I’m doing this at all, 

writing this out as if anyone should be forced to know. 

It’s fine. 

Everyday the holes in my memory grow bigger, 

I forget things quicker than I learn them, 

faster than the events happen. 

Waking up and finding myself in a position I don’t remember being put into- 

I don’t know. 

I don’t. 

All I know is that I’m tired. 

I want to keep trying but I don’t remember trying at all.

The Midnight Library 
by Matt Haig

The novel  The  Midnight Library is a New York Times bestseller, written by Matt Haig, the international bestselling author of “How to Stop Time”  and this is my honest review. 


The  idea behind The Midnight Library is certainly interesting, as it puts a more unique spin on death, or rather, the inbetween of life and death. In the book, main character Nora Seed, commits suicide once her regret riddled life takes yet another turn for the worst. She wakes up at midnight, in The Midnight Library, a place between life and death; a place where she  is presented with “The Book of Regrets.” A place where she holds the power to choose a different life and start over again. 


This book is immensely popular on the literary side of TikTok (booktok) and I heard nothing but high praise, so I decided to purchase and read the story for myself. However, upon finishing the book, I find myself conflicted. I adore the story concept, as it has a lot of potential; I am far less fond of the execution. The pacing of the story was constantly changing, making it difficult to keep up with the plot, and I found it overall to be rather underwhelming considering the hype that was circulating online. As someone who reads similar novels quite often, the ending was expected and the climax of the story was anticlimactic, making the read quite boring. However, there were several enjoyable parts of the story, including detailed worldbuilding and in-depth character studies that allow the reader to better connect to the characters. That said, if you’re someone who enjoys reading books that involve the main character going on a journey of self discovery, The Midnight Library is likely a book you’d enjoy.