Synopsis: “Fungi are not like us – they are entirely, magically something else… Erupting, spreading, decaying, changing. Aliya Whiteley has always been in love with fungi – from a childhood taking blurry photographs of strange fungal eruptions on Exmoor to a career as a writer inspired by their surreal and alien beauty. This love for fungi is a love for life, from single-cell spores to the largest living organism on the planet; a story stretching from Aliya’s lawn into Space and back again via every continent. Despite their familiar presence, there’s still much for us to learn about the eruption, growth and decay of fungi’s connected world – one that Aliya lays out before us, linking fungal geography and history with myth; fiction and culture with science. From fields, feasts and fairy rings to death caps, puffballs and ambrosia beetles, this is an intoxicating personal journey into the life of extraordinary organism, one that we have barely begun to understand.”

My Review

This was an absolutely fascinating nonfiction book. I never realised fungi could be so riveting! It’s made me look out for them even more when I’m out walking.

I loved the short snappy chapters that started with a delicate pencil illustration of a particular fungi relevant to the chapter. The book was split up into three sections titled Erupt, Spread and Decay, and then into chapters within each section.

I learnt so much about fungi, not just mushrooms or toadstools. In fact lichen are a type of fungi, I didn’t know that, didn’t even think about it before reading this book.

Did you know that Button, Chestnut and Portobello Mushrooms are all the same, just at different stages of growth? I really thought they were different, especially chestnut mushrooms.

There was a wonderful chapter about the different fungi around the world. Aseroe rubra from Australia looks amazing, as do the caterpillar fungus found on the Tibetan Plateau!

There was also a chapter about fungi in literature and film, particularly horror, which was quite creepy,Β  so very appropriate for this time of year!

Highly recommended if you love you nonfiction, especially about the natural world.

Thanks so much to Alison Menzies and Elliot & Thompson for my lovely paperback copy.