The Nature Book of the Month for May is The Entangled Life - How Fungi Make our worlds, change our minds, and shape our Future by Merlin Sheldrake

Sue Deadman recommends this book. She is one of Orillia Naturalists’ Club’s  best all round Naturalist, and recently became interested in fungi, as well. Here is her review.

ENTANGLED LIFE – How fungi make our worlds, change our minds and shape our futures
By Merlin Sheldrake

Merlin Sheldrake is a biologist with a PhD in tropical ecology from Cambridge University. He combines his knowledge with a brilliant talent for writing to take the reader on a magical, at times humorous, journey into the fascinating world of fungi.

We are there beside him as he digs for truffles in Bologna, Italy. How does a truffle buried deep in the ground release its spores?
We view studies that explore the behavior of vast mycelia networks. Can we think of their behaviour as intelligent?
We are in awe of the resiliency of rehydrated lichen recently returned from outer space. How do they survive such extreme habitats?
We visit a factory that farms mycelium for use in packing material, leather and furniture to name a few.
Will microfabrication draw humans into a codependent symbiosis?
We imagine the effects of LSD as it softens the rigid habits of our minds. Why have certain fungal species developed these abilities?
We watch as a carpenter ant infected by a “zombie fungus” overcomes its fear of heights and climbs up the nearest plant to a height of exactly 25 centimetres. At precisely noon the ant clamps its jaws onto the plant in a death grip and mycelium growing from the ant’s feet stitch it to the plant’s surface. The fungus then digests the ant’s body and sprouts a stalk from its head releasing spores which shower the ants below.

Sheldrake writes, “Fungi roll us towards the edge of many questions. This book comes from my experience of peering over some of these edges. My experience of the fungal world has made me re-examine much of what I knew. Evolution, ecosystems, individuality, intelligence, life – none are quite what I thought they were. My hope is that this book loosens some of your uncertainties as fungi have loosened mine”

Anyone with a budding curiosity of all things natural to those who are experts in the field of mycology will benefit from reading this book.

Check your LOCAL bookstore for a copy.


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