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

by Merlin Sheldrake

Hardcover, 2020

Call number

579.5 SHE


Random House (2020), 368 pages


"Living at the border between life and non-life, fungi use diverse cocktails of potent enzymes and acids to disassemble some of the most stubborn substances on the planet, turning rock into soil and wood into compost, allowing plants to grow. Fungi not only help create soil, they send out networks of tubes that enmesh roots and link plants together in the "Wood Wide Web." Fungi also drive many long-standing human fascinations: from yeasts that cause bread to rise and orchestrate the fermentation of sugar into alcohol; to psychedelic fungi; to the mold that produces penicillin and revolutionized modern medicine. And we can partner with fungi to heal the damage we've done to the planet. Fungi are already being used to make sustainable building materials and wearable leather, but they can do so much more. Fungi can digest many stubborn and toxic pollutants from crude oil to human-made polyurethane plastics and the explosive TNT. They can grow food from renewable sources: edible mushrooms can be grown on anything from plant waste to cigarette butts. And some fungi's antiviral compounds might be able to ease the colony collapse of bees. Merlin Sheldrake's revelatory introduction to this world will show us how fungi, and our relationships with them, are more astonishing than we could have imagined. Bringing to light science's latest discoveries and ingeniously parsing the varieties and behaviors of the fungi themselves, he points us toward the fundamental questions about the nature of intelligence and identity this massively diverse, little understood kingdom provokes"--… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member RajivC
Mervin Sheldrake's "Entangled Life" is a magical, mesmerizing book. I am, in fact, extremely glad that I read the book.
When I had gone to a local bookstore in Delhi - yes, they still exist - I was intrigued by the cover. I confess that I was tempted to buy it on Amazon, which is a bit cheaper, but
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bought it from the bookstore.

Until now, I had looked at fungi as mushrooms (magical, edible, poisonous), growths on bread and clothing, and not much more. When I started to read the book, I found myself entering a world that is, at once, magical, and scientific. It helps that Merlin Sheldrake writes with a rare felicity, which made the experience enjoyable.

There are worlds of networks, symbiosis, and intelligence that are different from ours. In short, the book gave me a glimpse into a world that we live in, and don't appreciate.

This is a brilliant book. A gem.
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LibraryThing member willszal
In the spirit of books like “Underland” by Robert MacFarlane (which actually features Merlin Sheldrake in his mycological splendor), “Entangled Life,” much like the dwarves arriving at Bilbo’s house, brashly pulls you, the reader, out on a rough-and-tumble adventure that engages the
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senses like few literary works. You’ll quickly find yourself sweaty, running alongside truffle dogs in the in the Italian countryside, brambles scratching your arms, or as a child, immersed in a giant pile of leaves, the moist scent of decomposition saturating your nostrils as you burrow down to the interface where leaves meet the earth, writhing with worms.

In his introduction, using the language of his friend and mentor David Abram, Sheldrake diffracts his narrative through the prism of phenomenology. “Our perceptions work in large part by expectations. It takes less cognitive effort to make sense of the world using preconceived images updated with a small amount of new sensory information than to constantly form entirely new perceptions from scratch…Tricked out of our expectations, we fall back on our senses."

On first glance, you might think that this is a book about fungi. And in a way, it is—as much as you might say that an oil painting is about paint and canvas. And yet, just like the painter, Sheldrake uses his medium of mycelium to illustrate not just the qualities of a natural kingdom, but to paint the icon of a new paradigm. In the world of “Entangled Life,” Sheldrake’s portraits dissolve the veil that normally crisply define the thresholds of individual organisms. Given that your corporeal subsistence as a human is reliant on yeasts (a form of fungi), both to maintain your microbiome, and to pre-digests your food, where do you end, and where does the fungal kingdom begin? Given that trees are unable to access the water and nutrients they need to thrive without mycelial networks, is it useful to refer to an individual tree as an organism, or must we expand our definition to include its fungal partners? To use the terminology of J. G. Bennett, maybe even the concept of individuality begins only at the scale of the species.

Sheldrake has PhD in ecology, and relies upon a scientific epistemology to construct and buttress his rhetoric. And yet where much of science hones in at the order of mechanism, to the degree that we lose the forrest in the trees, Sheldrake employs science in a way that invites in our somatic selves and leaves us awed by the synergies dancing our eyes and branching beneath our feet.

Like the effects of the psilocybin mushrooms which Sheldrake describes, this book can serve as a portal through our drab mental models into the vibrant, bustling, sonorous, and pungent world that has been longing for our attention.
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LibraryThing member bell7
Welcome to the wonderfully wild and woolly word of - fungi. We eat it, walk over it, and don't even notice it deep under the forest floor. Truffles are highly sought after. Plants have a symbiotic relationship with it. And yet, how much do we really know about fungi, how it works, and its
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relationship with other elements of the natural world?

Milton Sheldrake delves into the fascinating lives of creatures that are neither animal nor plant but are essential to the natural world. I wasn't sold on the beginning of this book - usually when I pick up a book about the natural wold that I can't fathom, it tends to be about physics. But then, the chapter on mind-altering mushrooms introduced me to one that hijacks carpenter ants to spread their spores in most dramatic fashion, and I was suddenly hooked. Filled with all sorts of fascinating tidbits, acknowledgement of where we need more study, and envisioning a future where fungi may help answer the climate crisis, this book is sure to leave you with an appreciation for fungi that you never had before.
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LibraryThing member zeborah
I'd heard such good things about this that it disappointed me: it was more a philosophical, conceptual overview of the interconnectedness of fungi. The examples it used were highly curated - only one or two per 'theme' even when we're told how many others exist - yet we don't go into corresponding
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depth into each of them. Probably of more interest to people who want their mind generally broadened about the concepts of life and individuality, rather than people who actually want to know specifically about... well, different kinds of fungi.
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LibraryThing member LGCullens
In my natural sciences studies over the years, though I was aware of fungi roles I hadn't focused much on them. I found this book an important other dimension, adding considerable complexity to physical being. It is not only informative, but also interesting — at least I would think so for those
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that strive to broaden their perspective.

Paraphrasing the author, the relationship between plants and fungi gave rise to the biosphere as we know it and supports life on land to this day, but there is still much more we have to learn. You might remember that in The Extended Phenotype, Richard Dawkins points out that genes don’t just provide the instructions to build the body of an organism. They also provide instructions to build certain behaviors. But, those behaviors can be manipulated.

For example, you may be aware that Ophiocordyceps and other insect-manipulating fungi have evolved a remarkable ability to cause harm to the animals they influence. They can take over insect bodies, effecting zombie-like behaviors to benefit the fungus. Also, The impact of fungal diseases is increasing across the world, such as with unsustainable agricultural practices that reduce the ability of plants to form relationships with the beneficial fungi on which they depend. Rather than working with Nature though, the widespread use of antifungal chemicals has led to an unprecedented rise in new fungal superbugs that threaten both human and plant health.

Of course, in seeking balance Nature's pendulum cuts both ways. Our subjective worlds are underpinned by the chemical activity of our brains. Now, a growing number of scientific studies report that Psilocybin mushrooms have evolved an astonishing ability to cure a wide range of human problems. Recent studies report the dramatic effects of psilocybin on people’s minds, outlooks, and perspectives. Experiences include enduring increases in subjects’ sense of connection with the natural world. Profound changes in people’s minds and personalities are rare; that they should happen over the course of such a short experience is striking. Nonetheless, these aren’t anomalous findings.

Umm, could Psilocybin mushroom consumption be the needed first step in effectively mitigating human caused global warming and extinctions? [My thoughts, not the author's.]

The above but a sampling, there is much more to this book. We exist in a closed loop system, and fungi are an essential component in creating growth and recycling life for new growth. Along the way, various fungi can sap and encourage our being. If one isn't overly encumbered by their human bubble, this book will help in understanding the natural world and our physical being.
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LibraryThing member lisapeet
This was a fascinating and fun exploration of the world of fungi, and if you're the kind of person attracted to that idea than this is absolutely the book for you: there's science, lore, investigation, and potential uses, truffles and psilocybin and crazy interdependences (and maze-solving slime
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molds, can't forget them). Sheldrake is so deeply engaged in his subject, and such a generous guide, that the book hit just the right tone of scholarly and entertaining—I refer you to "Queer theory for lichens" and the following: "A truffle's fragrance and an orchid bee's perfume may circulate beyond the flesh of each organism, but these fields of odor make up a part of their chemical bodies that overlap with one another like ghosts at a disco." Highly recommended if you like reading about the natural world and learning lots of odd things.
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LibraryThing member ozzer
Most of us think very little, if at all, about fungi. Sheldrake’s remarkable book should change that for anyone willing to pick it up. He writes enthusiastically about these remarkable beings, especially what they can do for and to humans. His narrative covers fungal biology and ecology well
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enough to satisfy anyone with a scientific background. However, when he delves into the remarkable creative and destructive capacitates of fungi, one can only look on in awe. It turns out that all of plant life would not exist without the intimate connections known as mycorrhizal networks; fungi can break down just about anything (e.g., rocks, cigarette buts, radioactive waste, etc.); they can influence the behavior of other organisms (including humans) to carry out their bidding; they can produce many remarkably useful substances (e.g., penicillin, beer, wine, yoghurt, cheese, etc.); also they can be coaxed into fabricating almost any structure, including furniture, housing, leather, etc.

Sheldrake provides his readers with a cornucopia of scientific detail yet the book remains utterly accessible for anyone with little interest in fungi. He accomplishes this feat by generalizing from the strange to the familiar. Mycorrhizal networks serve as metaphors for neural nets and the world wide web; fungal-algal associations in lichens provide an opportunity to discuss interspecies boundaries; fungal mind-altering drugs give him the opportunity to discuss his personal experience with LSD and how psychedelic drugs work to alter the perception of self thus offering promise in the treatment of mental illness; and especially, fungal digestion of human waste products (even dirty diapers) serves as a platform to discuss environmental degradation. His description of making hard cider from apples purloined from Newton’s tree is a tour de force.

This is indeed a remarkable book filled with strange facts and wonderful opportunities. It is never boring and well worth reading.
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LibraryThing member breic
Lots of drawn-out writing, especially about anthropomorphization and linguistic issues. Not so much science. Do we have the wrong metaphors for fungi and plants? I couldn't care less. It is easy to write about, but not very scientifically productive.

Furthermore, even when it comes to science,
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every point is drawn out excessively, and the author gives a completely non-critical summary of lots of well-known phenomena. For example, fungal networks for computation. This is something that should be looked at carefully and critically, not just accepted with a "gee whiz" like a Wired magazine article. The chapter on psychedelics is a retread of Michael Pollan.

I really would have liked to have seen the author's own work be much more emphasized. Sheldrake is a biologist, or at least he has a Ph.D., but much of this book is just shallow interviews with other scientists, like you'd get from any journalist.

On the plus side, there was some good science. The most interesting parts to me, were the stories about fungal parasites, which are much more common than I had heard of. Also I was quite interested to hear about the plants that parasites on mycelial networks, ultimately getting their nutrition from other plants. I liked the author's perspective that mycelial networks are not just links between trees, but facilitate links between trees, possibly to help themselves. Allowing nutrients to flow from some trees to other trees and possibly back, helps the fungi keep a stable host ecosystem.

The illustrations, originally drawn with ink from Shaggy ink cap mushrooms, were also great.

> besides penicillin: cyclosporine (an immunosuppressant drug that makes organ transplants possible), cholesterol-lowering statins, a host of powerful antiviral and anticancer compounds (including the multibillion-dollar drug Taxol, originally extracted from the fungi that live within yew trees), not to mention alcohol (fermented by a yeast) and psilocybin (the active component in psychedelic mushrooms

> Some fungi have tens of thousands of mating types, approximately equivalent to our sexes (the record holder is the split gill fungus, Schizophyllum commune, which has more than twenty-three thousand mating types, each of which is sexually compatible with nearly every one of the others). The mycelium of many fungi can fuse with other mycelial networks if they are genetically similar enough, even if they aren't sexually compatible

> One partner plays a paternal role, providing genetic material only. The other plays a maternal role, providing genetic material and growing the flesh that matures into truffles and spores. Truffles differ from humans in that either + or - mating types can be maternal or paternal

> Fungi produce plant growth hormones that manipulate roots, causing them to proliferate into masses of feathery branches—with a greater surface area, the chances of an encounter between root tips and fungal hyphae become more likely.

> nematode-eating fungi only produce worm-hunting organs and issue a chemical summons when they sense nematodes are close by. If there is plenty of material to rot, they don't bother, even if worms abound

> The methods fungi use to hunt nematodes are grisly and diverse. It is a habit that has evolved multiple times—many fungal lineages have reached a similar conclusion but in different ways. Some fungi grow adhesive nets, or branches to which nematodes stick. Some use mechanical means, producing hyphal nooses that inflate in a tenth of a second when touched, ensnaring their prey. Some—including the commonly cultivated oyster mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus)—produce hyphal stalks capped with a single toxic droplet that paralyzes nematodes, giving the hypha enough time to grow through their mouth and digest the worm from the inside. Others produce spores that can swim through the soil, chemically drawn toward nematodes, to which they bind. Once attached, the spores sprout and the fungus harpoons the worm with specialized hyphae known as "gun cells."

> Olsson and Adamatzky have shown that mycelium can be electrically sensitive, but they haven't shown that electrical impulses can link a stimulus to a response.

> they describe fossilized mycelium preserved in the fractures of ancient lava flows. The fossils show branching filaments that "touch and entangle each other." The "tangled network" they form, the dimensions of the hyphae, the dimensions of spore-like structures, and the pattern of its growth all closely resemble modern-day fungal mycelium. It is an extraordinary discovery because the fossils date from 2.4 billion years ago, more than a billion years before fungi were thought to have branched off the tree of life.

> Lichens encrust as much as eight percent of the planet's surface, an area larger than that covered by tropical rainforests. They clad rocks, trees, roofs, fences, cliffs, and the surface of deserts … Most rocky shorelines are rimmed with lichen. Lichens start where the seaweeds stop, and some extend down into the water.

> The names used to describe lichens sound like afflictions, words that get stuck in your teeth: crustose (crusty), foliose (leafy), squamulose (scaly), leprose (dusty), fruticose (branched). Fruticose lichens drape and tuft; crustose and squamulose lichens creep and seep; foliose lichens layer and flake

> In some situations, lichens reproduce without breaking up their relationship—fragments of a lichen containing all the symbiotic partners can travel as one to a new location and grow into a new lichen. In other situations, lichen fungi produce spores that travel alone. Upon arrival in a new place, the fungus must meet a compatible photobiont

> Lichens have evolved independently between nine and twelve times since. Today, one in five of all known fungal species form lichens, or "lichenize." Some fungi (such as Penicillium molds) used to lichenize but don't anymore; they have de-lichenized. Some fungi have switched to different types of photosynthetic partner

> The 'basic set' of partners is different for every lichen group. Some have more bacteria, some fewer; some have one yeast species, some have two, or none. Interestingly, we have yet to find any lichen that matches the traditional definition of one fungus and one alga."

> Abram Hoffer, a Canadian psychiatrist and researcher into the effects of LSD in the 1950s, remarked that "from the first, we considered not the chemical, but the experience as a key factor in therapy." … psychedelics like psilocybin "dope-slap people out of their story. It's literally a reboot of the system

> Layers of dead and un-rotted forest built up, storing so much carbon that atmospheric carbon dioxide levels crashed, and the planet entered a period of global cooling. Plants had caused the climate crisis, and plants were hit the hardest by it: Huge areas of tropical forest were wiped out in an extinction event known as the Carboniferous rainforest collapse.

> African Macrotermes termites are some of the more striking examples. Macrotermes, like most termites, spend much of their lives foraging for wood, although they aren't able to eat it. Instead, the termites cultivate a white rot fungus—Termitomyces—that digests it for them. The termites chew wood into a slurry that they regurgitate in fungal gardens, known as the "fungus comb," by contrast with bees' honeycomb. The fungus uses radical chemistry to decompose the wood.

> Mycoheterotrophs—"hackers" of the wood wide web—have lost the ability to photosynthesize and draw their nutrients from mycorrhizal fungal networks that lace their way through soil.
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LibraryThing member steve02476
What a fun book to read. Sheldrake is a good writer and he knows a lot of interesting stuff. And he’s a bit of a lovable weirdo. And a good scientist! Also, fungus is very intriguing and an important part of life on earth. I’d recommend this book to anyone who likes natural science who isn’t
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afraid of a tiny touch of silliness.
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LibraryThing member tgraettinger
Unusual topic and unusual writing style. I enjoyed it! Will likely re-read it to make more sense of some passages. It was an excellent introduction to some topics, people, and research I knew nothing about. Very inspiring!
LibraryThing member Library_Lin
Like those who see fractals everywhere, evangelical mycologist Merlin Sheldrake sees fungi and fungi patterns repeated in everything from research paths to thinking processes. And he has me convinced he’s right to do so. I’m admittedly a fungi-phile and I’ve always been fascinated by
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mushrooms. Sheldrake, who has also been fascinated by them since childhood has researched them extensively and helps us understand the allure of the truffle (and the value of the dogs that sniff them out). He has us contemplating the potential cures for mental illness in common mushrooms that grow everywhere. They’ve been ignored for far too long, he says, because our survival as a species may depend upon tapping into their amazing potential as destroyers of pollutants and as renewable resources.

I enjoyed the book immensely, first for its information, but also for Sheldrake’s enthusiasm and engaging style. He even gives rough instructions on making wine using the fungus from old books in libraries. I highly recommend it to fellow fungi lovers and philosophers.
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LibraryThing member Gwendydd
This is a fascinating look at the current state of research on fungi. It makes it clear that fungi are absolutely fundamental to life on earth, yet we are only just beginning to understand them. It's impressive how much of the research discussed in this book has only happened in the past 20 years
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or so, and how much more there is to learn.

The book also unintentionally makes it clear why some of this research hasn't been done sooner, and it's because mycologists are, well, kind of weird. You can't study mycology without also studying the psychedelic effects of mushrooms and the intoxicating effects of fermented foods, and Sheldrake, like a lot of mycologists, is willing to experiment on himself. A lot of pioneers of mycology began studying mushrooms because they were interested in the psychedelic, so the whole field has a very different history than other areas of biology.

Fungi are fascinating because they thrive by making connections with other living things, to the point that it is hard to separate them from other living things and they challenge our ideas of what an "individual" or a "species" is. The most obvious example is lichens, but even lichens turn out to be far more complicated than we previously thought. Fungi have an amazing capacity to connect with algae, bacteria, and plants and to facilitate connections between other living things. They are also remarkably adaptable and can consume just about everything. We are just beginning to understand how they can be used to consume human and industrial waste, and how they can be used to create everything from faux leather to houses.
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LibraryThing member kristykay22
I love to eat mushrooms and always think they are neat when they pop up out of the ground after a rain but, like most people, I don't spend much time thinking about fungi in general. Mycologist Merlin Sheldrake, on the other hand, thinks about fungi all the dang time and after reading this
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wide-ranging exploration of the life form I don't think I'll ever see the world the same way again.

Being humans, we are rather human-centric in our perspective of the world, and when we aren't being human-centric, we are animal-centric or, at the very least, plant-centric. When we acknowledge fungi at all, it is in how they affect us (penicillin, truffles, psylocibin, yeast, etc.) or possibly how they help plants we like to eat by doing things like bringing nitrogen to their roots. Mycelial networks, however, are much more complicated and more integral to our lives than I had ever been taught. They are, in some sense, responsible for us having lives at all! We have evolved in tandem with the fungal networks that inhabit our soil, our food, and our bodies. Lichen (an unusual lifeform that is a combination of fungus and algae), for example, was one of the first life forms on dry land and by breaking down rocks into soil and organic components, it made it possible for plants to establish themselves and animal life to emerge from the sea. They can also survive ON THE OUTSIDE OF A SPACESHIP!

Sheldrake deftly pulls together information, interviews, research, and personal reflection (and self-experimentation) on all different aspects of the fungal world. He is an enthusiastic guide with a lyrical and unique writing style that is much different from other popular science writers I've read. As I worked my way through this mycological world, my perspective shifted from seeing what fungi could do for humans to seeing how humans have become just another part of a fungal network that started long before we were here and, I'm sure, will be here long after we are gone.

Highly recommend this unusual and mind-expanding book!
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LibraryThing member andreas.wpv
Still reading, but so far:

Interesting to take a closer look at this huge area of live, living beings, our world.

Scientist and journalist enthralled by their own language skills the stories are hard to fathom. While some readers might enjoy the richness (?) of the language, the twist, turns and
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fanciful word usage - it distracted me from the actual stories about fungi for which I read.

Two areas mentioned - deep underground mycelic networks and in person fungi - are not explored with information, or their own chapter. This is most lamentable, as these are the areas that seem least well known in the public sphere - or at least not reaching me, whereas most other areas explored seem much more publicized in news.
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LibraryThing member tuusannuuska
Everything I never knew I wanted to know about fungi. Sheldrake clearly loves his field of study and he writes about it in an almost poetic manner. I ended up listening to the audio while I read the book physically, and that was an excellent choice, as Sheldrake does a great job narrating the
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I'm also very much in the market for some solid science fiction featuring fungi.
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LibraryThing member booktsunami
I bought this book at an exhibition in Kyoto in late 2022. It’s a lovely collection of the art of Konoshima Okoku though it focuses mainly on his paintings and sketches of animals there were other works in the exhibition (and in the book also). He was clearly influenced by Chinese painters and
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the work demonstrates this influence. But, I find his animal paintings just superb….. and the book has enlarged a few of the sections within the paintings to give one a closer look at the detail and the technique. There is one painting of cows in a dairy pp40-43 which I just love. I think it was a screen ….. so very long and able to capture both the farmers bringing ib the hay with the cows looking very contented in the dairy. But lovingly captured and delicate colouration. The cover illustration is also screen in the original …. With a small fox in the snow in the middle of a bamboo grove. It appears to be monochrome but apparently there is some green tea colour applied to the bamboo trunks. There is a lovely sense of balance about the whole work with a concentration of the forest and the fox towards the centre and a sparse half moon on the upper right. A lovely work.
I really enjoyed the exhibition (though it was a cold wet day in Kyoto). Also loved the sketch of three artists sketching…… apparently cold and raining? presumably this is Okoku and friends but it demonstrates the sheer hard work that went into achieving the finished paintings. I must confess that I’ve just spent a lot of time with Google translate on this book and been totally confused because it translates Okoku’s name as something completely different and I couldn’t understand who this “Sakuradani Kajima” was that they kept referring to. Assume it’s alternatives for the Kanji.
But really love the paintings and the work. Happy to give this five stars.
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LibraryThing member fegolac
By coincidence, the book I read before this one was Robert Macfarlane's Underland, which is so closely related to Entangled Life that author Merlin Sheldrake is featured in one chapter. I think Entangled Life is an even more engaging exploration of life underground, from the perspective of fungi.
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We mostly know them through mushrooms, but those are of course only the equivalent of a plant's fruit, and most of their structure and operation is rarely directly visible to us. This makes fungi elusive but also exciting objects of research.

Sheldrake's fascination for fungi really transpires from the pages of this book. His writing is confident enough that he can write about real research and sound neither condescending nor overly academic. (There's also a large number of references and endnotes, which I really appreciate.) What really struck me, though, is how fungi seem to defy our existing classification systems. Throughout the book you're presented with a variety of ways people have tried to understand fungi and how they relate to their environment: symbiosis, parasitism, mycelium as a brain, wires connecting a forest, and even a sort of marketplace for nutrients -- and while these are all fascinating they also show how weird fungi are. Even the notion of an organism seems to be inadequate. If you think you have a good grasp on what life is you should definitely read this.
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LibraryThing member booktsunami
I really liked this book. Yes, I studied some mycology at university and I've always been rather fascinated by fungi ...especially by the km of mycelium that run underground, or through leaf litter ir through the trunks of trees. Sheldrake has produced a work here that makes mycology really
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interesting and gives some dimension to the wealth of fungal life in our world. And most people are totally oblivious to fungi and to their importance to our lives. For example, Sheldrake draws attention to the carboniferous age 290-360 million years ago, when forest proliferated across the globe ...but for tens of millions of years the plant matter didn't decompose.......... hence the vast beds of coal in various locations.........because there were no organisms around that could break down lignin...and it was the emergence of the white rot fungi that had the the ability to do this that brought the formation of coal to an end. It also changed the climate because CO2 had been pulled from the atmosphere.....the reverse of the greenhouse effect.....so the world had cooled.
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LibraryThing member viviennestrauss
I felt like a lot of the science was over my head but thoroughly enjoyed it, more fascinated by fungi than ever.
LibraryThing member Neale
An amazing book that proves the more you know the more you don't know. Mushrooms and fungi play a huge role in all ecosystems and are little understood. A great read but it poses more questions than it answers. More resources need to be spent in understanding them. They could provide answers to
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many of our environmental problems.
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LibraryThing member AAPremlall
Fascinating read for this eco-artsy-nerdy-gyal who has been a student of Mycology for some time and was at the Radical Mycology Intensive with Peter McCoy in Brooklyn.
LibraryThing member aadyer
A really good look and overview of the fascinating world of mycology and fungi. This wide-ranging treaties looked at symbiotic relationships, the relationship of trees, with fungi, the World Wide Web, the natural world, and the economic costs of various different aspects of fungal medicine and
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pharmacotherapy. This is also helpful for those people that have an interest in ecology, and of course it does pay attention to the forthcoming climate
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LibraryThing member greeniezona
I loved this book so hard and was converted to all its causes. I want to be growing experimental mushrooms in my basement. I regretted life choices where I could have been studying fungi in cave systems as a career now. But mostly I just existed in a state of wonder reading this book, which is
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something I think we all need more of.

My experience of this book was undoubtably enhanced by choosing this for a "book read outside" prompt -- so I read this one chapter at a time, mostly in my own backyard, but a few bits in a National Park on vacation. It was a great choice.
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LibraryThing member japaul22
I usually like these popular science/ecology books and this was no exception. I think what I mainly took away, though, was that we've only just begun to understand what fungi contribute to the Earth, how they live/work/exist, and how they could be utilized.

It was interesting to learn more about
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the intelligence of fungi and some of the symbiotic relationships they've developed. I loved the part about slime molds and how they can find the best routes through maps/mazes. I also thought it was interesting that some fungi can break down plastics and other pollutants. There is a lot of potential here. But also, hopefully we don't ruin fungi trying to use them to our benefit.
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LibraryThing member Narilka
Entangled Life is author Merlin Sheldrake's ode to fungi. Sheldrake's passion for all things fungus is reflected on every page. I can understand why as is turns out to be a fascinating subject. Fungal life is highly complex and touches almost every aspect of our lives whether we know it or not.
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From growing building materials to creating pharmaceuticals to cleaning up the environment to some species being tasty food and everything in between. I'm glad I read the book.

The most interesting part for me was the environmental aspect. There are species of fungi that will eat/decompose almost everything including used diapers, cigarette butts, plastics, nuclear waste, neurotoxins and even glyphosate. The possibility to naturally clean up toxic spills and other waste utilizing fungus seem endless. I hope this area is given more study and serious consideration as it could change the planet.
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BookTube Prize (Octofinalist — Nonfiction — 2021)
Writers' Prize (Longlist — 2021)


0525510311 / 9780525510314

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