Inspired by Allegra Hyde's Simile Museum, I'm also making a collection of fun and interesting similes I find in things I read. Last updated 11th May 2022.

One interesting way Hubbard uses the container metaphor is this concept of “repotting” friendships to make them closer, as you might repot a succulent that has outgrown its terra-cotta cup.

- How Friends Become Closer (The Atlantic, 2017)

Yet there are limits to the possibilities, and persistent themes recur. I have come to think of the landscape of adult friendship as variegated, like foliage that can come in every shape and size from a pine needle to a palm frond, but must, because of the chemistry of photosynthesis, always include shades of green.

- Friendship, Lydia Denworth

Through both the distance and closeness of these young lovers, Alejandro Zambra brilliantly explores the relationship between art, love, and life. Bonsai is accessible yet profound—as one critic in Chile’s Capital newspaper put it, “Brief as a sigh and forceful as a blow.”

- Blurb of Bonsai, by Alejandro Zambra and translated from Spanish to English by Carolina de Robertis

The wooden man performed prodigious leaps and seemed to fill the stage with the blows of his cudgel; the boy danced like a dust mote in a sunbeam to avoid it, darting at the wooden man to slash with his pin-sized blade.

- Book of the New Sun, Gene Wolfe

As I passed him in the doorway, I discovered that I was looking into his eyes as I might have looked into a window. Those eyes could truly have been of glass, so unveined and polished they seemed—like a sky of summer drought.

- Book of the New Sun, Gene Wolfe

Like bubbles in still water, two things rose to the surface of my thoughts.

- The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, N. K. Jemisin (h/t my friend Reyna)

And whenever I’d visit him, I’d browse the books on the lower shelves and run my fingers along the spines like a car’s wheels over speedbumps, each cover sort of yellowed from years of his cigarette smoke and constant reading.

- An Atlas of the Cosmos

so that even in the heart of great, handmade London we were forced to raise our minds for the instant from the routine of life, and to recognize the presence of those great elemental forces which shriek at mankind through the bars of his civilization, like untamed beasts in a cage. As evening drew in, the storm grew higher and louder, and the wind cried and sobbed like a child in the chimney.

- The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Arthur Conan Doyle

We’ve seen Roger Federer, probably the most effortlessly brilliant tennis player who ever lived, shattered and weeping on the court after losses that seemed to groan up from the Old Testament.

- Nadal vs. Djokovic Here We Are Again, My Friend

No, we just sat there while the food was portioned out a teaspoon at a time, a persistent and sustained sort of agony, like slowly peeling off a band-aid. That’s the problem with a tasting menu. With so many courses, you just assume things are going to turn around. Every dish is a chance for redemption. Maybe this meal was like Nic Cage’s career – you have to wait a really long time for the good stuff, but there _is_ good stuff.

- We Eat at The Worst Michelin Starred Restaurant, Ever

When I walk away it is to follow the path about the great lakes and the two acres of walled garden and when I return to glimpse the oak again I see autumn is here - a touch, a colouring of soft yellow, a handful of darker, copper tones amidst the green. In the woods behind, the scent of pine settles like a moment of still. A family flock of long-tailed tits flit among the jade needles, shooting like darts from tree to tree.

- The Oak Papers, James Canton

The sun sets earlier and earlier. We do not plunge into darkness. The days fade. The darkness of winter settles upon the earth slowly like a vast cloud that gradually floats across the sun and steals the light.

- The Oak Papers, James Canton

Having played to her heart's content, Chibi would come inside and rest for a while. When she began to sleep on the sofa-like a talisman curled gently in the shape of a comma and dug up from a prehistoric archaeological site-a deep sense of happiness arrived, as if the house itself had dreamed this scene.

- The Guest Cat, Takashi Hiraide

Hold your hand high above the dish or pan or raw ingredient that you are salting and move the hand around while you rub your fingertips, causing the salt to sprinkle like rain over the whole surface of the food you are seasoning.

- Ingredienti, Marcella Hazan

She was thinking of the days of Johann Sebastian Bach, when music was like a rose blooming on a boundless snow-covered plain of silence.

- The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Milan Kundera

In the realm of totalitarian kitsch, all answers are given in advance and preclude any questions. It follows, then, that the true opponent of totalitarian kitsch is the person who asks questions. A question is like a knife that slices through the stage backdrop and gives us a look at what lies hidden behind it.

- The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Milan Kundera

When Paul McBeth first started playing in professional disc golf tournaments, he’d crisscross California in his father’s 1978 Dodge Ramcharger. His dad had mostly used it to rock-crawl in the desert outskirts of Los Angeles. The top of the SUV was sawed off and the side windows were smashed out. The doors were so dented they looked like topographic maps.

- The Rise of the $10 Million Disc Golf Celebrity

"This-oh, hi Roz, I'm glad you're here," Mishima says. She's got a mouth full of something to say and looks sharp as ship's figurehead, cutting through the spray and the bullshit. Back on her game.

- Null States, Malka Older

There are a lot more people compared to last time, so before we head down to the viewing platform, Mum takes me aside. We exchange code words and hand squeezes. I build an imaginary suit of armour around myself and move forwards into the throng, senses popping like corn kernels.

- Diary of a Young Naturalist, Dara McAnulty

But at Wimbledon, where men's doubles is also played over a best-of-five format, Wimbledon's "gentlemen" manspread their matches like an Etonian with elephantiasis, monopolizing time on the main courts.

- Wimbledon:Where Women Wait

I'm standing on the foothills of Slieve Donard, mother of the Mournes, towering above the other peaks that clamour around like children at her heels, desperate to learn how she grew so tall.

- Diary of a Young Naturalist, Dara McAnulty

And somehow, in one of the greatest marvels of life, from that day of dipping oars into dead calm water and foghorns and a warming fire in his cottage after our first full day together, thirty-eight years have evanesced, like an unanticipated gust of wind suddenly carrying away thousands of gilded leaves at their finest moment.

- Windcliff, David J. Hinkley

Interviewer: Did going back assuage those childhood fears? // Maya Angelou: They are there like griffins hanging off the sides of old and tired European buildings.

- The Art of Fiction No. 119

Cheerful yellow tomato flowers, shaped like a wizard's hat, have an extraordinary relationship with bees.

- Around the World in 80 Plants, Jonathan Drori

The pink or violet flowers of the indigo shrub are typical of the pea and bean family, and so are its seed pods, which curl pleasingly like handlebar moustaches.

- Around the World in 80 Plants, Jonathan Drori

Rarely for a tree with cones, ginkgoes often shed their leaves simultaneously, making their trunk appear like ships' masts above a golden sea.

- Around the World in 80 Plants, Jonathan Drori

This principle, and many more subtle ones, figures in today's codes for compressing digital pictures, audio, and video. The success of these compression schemes implies that messages are like sponges. They are mostly "air" with little "substance." As long as you preserve the substance, you can squeeze out the air.

- Fortune's Formula, William Poundstone

A great blue heron is the color of gray mist reflecting in blue water. And like mist, she can fade into the backdrop, all of her disappearing except the concentric circles of her lock-and-load eyes. She is a patient, solitary hunter, standing alone as long as it takes to snatch her prey. Or, eyeing her catch, she will stride forward one slow step at a time, like a predacious bridesmaid. And yet, on rare occasions she hunts on the wing, darting and diving sharply, swordlike beak in the lead.

- Where the Crawdads Sing, Delia Owens

Edwin had learned to want him, then, and also to fold his resentment in that want like a glass shard in layers of tissue.

- A Marvelous Light, Freya Marske

I can drive through it from one end to the other in five minutes. I look across to my neighbours on the other side of the valley a mile away and can hear them gathering their sheep on the fell sides. The valley where we live and farm stretches beneath me like an old man's upturned cupped hands.

- The Shepherd's Life, James Rebanks

He regarded the tourists that swarmed past on sunny days as minor irritants, like ants; they got in the way and they had strange ideas, but a little bit of bad weather and they'd be gone again to leave us to get on with stuff that mattered.

- The Shepherd's Life, James Rebanks

The teeth tell me a lot. A sheep as a lamb has baby teeth, little sharp needlelike teeth, but then at a year old, the two central teeth change into broader white teeth. A year later the next one on either side of the central two change to adult teeth; and the year after that the whole mouth is in its adult form, like a tight little row of tombstones made of white Portland stone meeting at the edges.

- The Shepherd's Life, James Rebanks

Barkley Cove was quite literally a backwater town, bits scattered here and there among the estuaries and reeds like an egret's nest flung by the wind.

- Where the Crawdads Sing, Delia Owens

Something is always brushing against you or lapping at you or snagging you or tangling in your legs, and the sun is always pummeling your skin, and the wetness in the air makes your hair coil like a phone cord. You never smell plain _air_ in a swamp-you smell the tang of mud and the sourness of rotting leaves and the cool musk of new leaves and the perfumes of a million different flowers floating by, each distinct but transparent, like soap bubbles.

- Where the Crawdads Sing, Delia Owens

In the swamp you feel as if someone had plugged all of your senses into a light socket.

- The Orchid Thief, Susan Orlean

If you are aware of these moments, they will alter you. You can try to forget them, to turn away from them, to shrug them off, but they will have infiltrated you, whether you like it or not. They will take up residence inside you and become part of who you are, like a heart stent or a pin that holds together a broken bone.

- I Am, I Am, I Am, Maggie O'Farrell

For Sami, the aim in playing was simply to play: to match finger to key, one after the other or in their cherrylike clusters, and to enjoy the result as one enjoys listening to a story unfold. In his tiny bedroom that was more a corridor than a destination, my brother hunched over his piano with something like the charged necessity that grips chain smokers, or binge eaters, or people who bounce their knees.

- Asymmetry, Lisa Halliday

It could even seem wasteful, the way he went through sheet music, rarely playing a piece more than twice in favor of moving on: to another sonata, another concerto, another mazurka, nocturne, or waltz. As though their notes were part of an infinite current and Sami the copper wire through which they wanted to flow.

- Asymmetry, Lisa Halliday

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