What a fascinating book! I kept getting confused about what was on the schedule for the All-Nonfiction reading group and although Entangled Life did not make the list, I kept putting it on there. And then with a member straightening me out on that, I saw the book on sale and bought it because I kept thinking it was on the list. The cover was so attractive to me although I wasn’t big on the idea of fungus and biology.
Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Share Our Futures
by Mervin Sheldrake
2020 / Read by author 9h 32m
Rating: 9 / life science – nature
(Both read and listened)
Finally I’d talked myself into thinking it was September’s book and decided to start reading it. Omg – it was so good. I mentioned that on the email list, because it was next month’s read you know, and several people corrected me. OMG – Oh well – I finished it up and I’ll read Noise, the next actual selection, next (maybe after a couple of crime novels).
Entangled Life is about everything from plants and algae to truffles and mushrooms to yeasts and lichens and fungi along with all the mycelium which networks in the “wood wide webs.” Psilocybin and other organic psychedelics come up for discussion, too, of course. It turns out all these living organisms share with each other so much it’s sometimes difficult to distinguish the individual boundaries. Much of this is done by symbiosis and ingestion. And our “tree of life” is not quite what we thought it was (see also, The Tangled Tree by David Quammen https://mybecky.blog/2019/01/17/the-tangled-tree-by-david-quammen/ )
I was absolutely able to follow the wondrously written narrative, but when I stopped for the evening I’d be mixed up the next day. It’s hard for me to review what all the book contained – suffice it to say there was a lot in this book and it’s somewhat “entangled.” That does NOT take away from the delight in reading it!
At the end and after publication, Sheldrake wets his copy of the book and lets the fungi sprout out (and takes a photo for a new cover). Then he makes mead – or that’s the story anyway.
(Sheldrake’s copy of the book)
“Entangled Life is a dazzling, vibrant, vision-changing book. Sentence after sentence stopped me short. I ended it wonderstruck at the fungal world and the earth-shaking, hierarchy-breaking implications of Sheldrake’s argument. This is a remarkable work by a remarkable writer, which succeeds in springing life into strangeness again.”
— Robert Macfarlane, author of Underland
This is an especially interesting associated page: