The Simile Museum

Tag: Nonfiction

“Constitutionalism didn’t burst from the head of James Madison, like Athena from Zeus, simply on account of all the books he’d read. Sure, constitutionalism flew from the pages of those books, but it was also shot from the barrel of a gun.”

-Jill Lepore

“Again, we ascended the narrow staircase and deposited our shoes in the mass outside the loft. Then, we made our way to the only clearing on its soft floor. Beside me sat a man whose anxiety radiated from him in waves, like heat corrugating the air.”

-Melissa Febos

“When I write, it’s as if I were butchering eels… I pay little attention to the unpleasantness of the operation.” 

-Elena Ferrante

“At the same time, the natural autonomy of horizontalism, and its deep reliance on independent, small affinity groups of activists, encourages a constant drive to innovate. This self-overcoming is the engine of our velocity. It grants us the power to wobble, to swerve like a flock of birds and act in ways that confound our enemy, as events spiral toward the people’s vision.”

-Micah White

“At twenty-one, the writer in me was like a fly in the room–alive but insignificant, aimless, something that unsettled me whenever I grew aware of it, and which, for the most part, left me alone.”

-Jhumpa Lahiri

My family was like living with cruel cats. Someone would turn as you entered a room. Oh it’s you. So I waited for the night when I could be by myself and work.”

-Eileen Myles

“At the time, a good portion of the rock music played on the radio–Imagine Dragons, Linkin Park–was so densely and fastidiously produced, so airless and unrelenting, that listening to it felt like getting whopped in the face with a snowball. ‘Boys & Girls’ suggested a different way forward:  it was not without potency, but it drifted in like a salty breeze.”

-Amanda Petrusich

“Lenu and Lila define themselves through and against each other, each like a book that the other is reading, each representing an alternate story of what life might be”

-Jia Tolentino

“A pale face like a peeled potato.”

-Natalia Ginzburg

“A novel, like all written things, is a piece of music, the language demanding you make a sound as you read it. Writing one, then, is like remembering a song you’ve never heard before.”

-Alexander Chee