Obsessing about Fungi Books (Not Mushroom for More on My Bookshelf!)

in Hive Book Club3 months ago

I seem to have begun to collect books on fungi. There is a lot to learn, and even if the books are telling me the same thing in a different way, I figure it's helping the information stick. Some I started via audio books, particlarly Entangled Life, which I listened to on my solo journey to Tasmania in fungi season a while back. I loved it so much I ordered it when I got back. There's something to be said for physical copies.

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First of all, you gotta love a good mushroom identification book. This is an old school one we've had for years and years, and it still stands us in good stead.

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One of the things I love about it is it's identification flow chart which goes for a few pages. It really helps you learn to identify by looking at the parts of the mushroom. I keep finding myself coming back to this book over and over before I go further.

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The illustrations are just lovely as well - it's a beautifully presented book. I have no idea why Amazon is advertising a new copy for $668 - are you kidding? It was published in 1996 so maybe they don't print it any more. I know they've done at least one other guide which I might get as well.

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Wild Mushrooming: Alison Pouliot and Tom May

Really everyone should also have mushroom id books specific to their area as well as more broad ones. This one is Aussie based, and the foraging community keep recommending it at the moment so I bought it. It's definitely interesting to read about Australian mushrooms and where they might be found, and it's a modern, well produced book with glossy pages. There's also a good recipe section at the back with recipes from Australian chefs, foragers and mycologists.

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Merlin Sheldrake, Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures

“Fungi make worlds. They also unmake them. There are lots of ways to catch them in the act. When you cook mushroom soup, or just eat it. When you go out gathering mushrooms, or buy them. When you ferment alcohol, plant a plant, or just bury your hands in the soil; and whether you let a fungus into your mind, or marvel at the way that it might enter the mind of another. Whether you’re cured by a fungus, or watch it cure someone else; whether you build your home from fungi, or start growing mushrooms in your home, fungi will catch you in the act. If you’re alive, they already have.”

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This is the book that will change your entire life. Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating, but I adored this book - it opened me up to the world of biology and along with 'Braiding Sweetgrass' it changed my way of thinking about books about botany, realising they can be fascinating, poetic and mind opening. Who would have thought lichens could be so interesting? It was the first book I read on fungi so a lot of stuff I was learning for the first time, like how fungi has been around since the beginning and if it wasn't for fungi, we wouldn't have tall trees! There's a good chapter on psilocin as well, and on truffles. If you're going to get any mushroom book, get this one.

In Search of Mycotopia: Citizen Science, Fungi Fanatics, and the Untapped Potential of Mushrooms


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This one I've yet to order, but have been enjoying it thoroughly. It covers much the same as Entangled Life, but dives into citizen science and how they help with understanding fungi and mapping it. I love a lot of his fun words that enter my brain and explode - mycophiles, fungal literacy, biophilia. I love his largely informal tone and interaction with the subcultures that have formed around mushrooms, exploring the communities that have mycellium at their heart, from academics to business people to indigenous groups and mycoremediation of damaged landscapes. It's a great follow up to Sheldrake's book.

Christopher Hobbs: Medicinal Mushrooms, The Essential Guide

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This is a good one for anyone that grows or forages medicinal mushrooms, from turkeytail to reishi, cordyceps and so on. He shares some of his methods for tincturing and making powders, and there's a fair share of science too, explaining the benefits of mushrooms. I learnt alot about betaglucans from this book and liked it's practical nature, plus, Hobbs is really well known in this world. I'd also like to get the one by Paul Stamets which would be a great addition too.

The Allure of Fungi Alison Poirot

I loved this book because it's Australian, mostly. She's an Aussie mycologist that has explored the world of fungi both here and overseas. It's full of photographs and a lot of text that centres understanding around the Australian landscape, mostly. That's what I was missing - most of the books were American and I wanted to know more about fungi in the place I was living in. My only issue was that the print so so darn small! I'm still reading it at the moment, having just finished the chapter on mushrooms and language. IN many cultures 'mushroom' is seen in a negative light - they're seen as a source of disease or are feared as a poison. That gets into what we say, for example 'crime is mushrooming in the suburbs'. That's the thing about reading about fungi - there's all these interesting tangents that people go off on, from spirituality to the origin of language to bioremediation to gastronomy to literature and everything in between.

What's your favourite book on fungi? Do you have one on your wishlist?

With Love,

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My foray into mushrooms and picking them here in Aus are Saffron milk caps, pretty good with identifying them as they are very distinct and slippery jacks.

Anything else in not confident so follow the rule " If you don't know, leave well alone."

That Australian specific book, do you have a link to where one can get them from?

Yeah saffies are awesome, and once you know, you know. Wood blewitts are the other easy one although people mistake them for the other purple mushroom, but again, once you know you know.

https://www.booktopia.com.au/wild-mushrooming-alison-pouliot/book/9781486311736.html?source=pla&gclid=CjwKCAjwu5yYBhAjEiwAKXk_eBwr36l-HbexElfpYzL6wvxjXN2m-Nxt_eCXy1XOtqKOw51Glno1txoCZkQQAvD_BwE

Thanks for the link.

Just a curiosity, does this book also give you insights on magic mushies? Asking for a 'friend'

No, haha. Do you really need a book to id them? We never did :P

If I was to choose one it'd probably be a Paul Stamets https://www.penguin.com.au/books/psilocybin-mushrooms-of-the-world-9780898158397

Yes, definitely need a book since I have not actually attempted to find one since I for the life of me have not had the chance to even be in the same room with it. LOL.

Yeah, well, I guess someone taught us! So definitely either getting someone to teach you or identifying them yourself is important. Here in Australia, well, down south anyway, we tendded to get blue meanies and golden caps.

Yup, certainly a mentor for this kind of thing I say want.

Hi beautiful @riverflows, a pleasure to read you, I love mushrooms, but I do not have the privilege of seeing many often, I find them so beautiful and interesting in all their forms, these books look great but you left me with my mouth open from the first one, but the illustrations are beautiful, it is interesting to learn about this subject so I do not see many of them in my environment.

The illustrations are just divine aren't they? It's a truly beautiful book, probably be more likely to find second hand these days. We have had it for over twenty years!

They are totally divine illustrations and in fact seeing the cover, remember one of dinosaurs that has my nephew who is a fan of them since he was a child and so we gave him many books and booklets of dinosaurs that are still here and all must have more than 20 years or are close, I will look for the title of the book in Spanish and who knows maybe I'll be lucky and find it greetings.

There are several of them and I imagine that because of your love or passion for them, they are not the only ones you have to your credit.

I didn't know there were so many and that they were so important in life.



On the other hand I'm passing by here, because I saw that you are moderator of @Hivegarden, yesterday I made a publication in that community and they silenced it.

I didn't understand why, since the topic was about plants in my garden.

Now reading the rules again, I see that you should only post in English.

I apologize, it will not happen again.

Greetings and blessings @riverflows

Oh I'm sorry you got muted, but yes, it's a bit hard to curate languages other than English for us. No hard feelings, we don't get mad at all... You are welcome to post again if it's English. 🤍🖤

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We love picking wild mushrooms in my town during the start of the rainy season. Our ancestors thought us how to identify them but, we still have a lot to learn.

Thank you for sharing this wonderful books.

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Merlin Sheldrake!! What a name!

I know right! Google his Dad, that's interesting too...

Rupert sounds like a very interesting fellow and Merlins sibling is Cosmo

Oh I have been collecting some as well. I have a few that I downloaded too, maybe I can send them to you via Telegram. Mycelium Running is still my number one.
Entangled life and In Search of Mycotopia, I would love to get my hands on both of them. xxxxxx

Yeah especially Entangled Life but I lvoe them both!

Wow you have a regular fungi library started. I have a local ID book I use but thats the only fungi book on my shelf right now. I think Entangled Life is now on my wishlist. Maybe I should buy it for a friend then I could read it after 🙂 I have a friend I forage with that would love it.