Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures
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Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures
“Merlin Sheldrake’s marvelous tour of these diverse and extraordinary life forms is eye-opening on why humans should consider fungi among the greatest of earth’s marvels. . . . Wondrous.”—Time (“The 100 Must-Read Books of 2020”)
A mind-bending journey into the hidden universe of fungi, “one of those rare books that can truly change the way you see the world around you” (Helen Macdonald, author of H Is for Hawk).
When we think of fungi, we likely think of mushrooms. But mushrooms are only fruiting bodies, analogous to apples on a tree. Most fungi live out of sight, yet make up a massively diverse kingdom of organisms that supports and sustains nearly all living systems. Fungi provide a key to understanding the planet on which we live, and the ways we think, feel, and behave.
In Entangled Life, the brilliant young biologist Merlin Sheldrake shows us the world from a fungal point of view, providing an exhilarating change of perspective. Sheldrake’s vivid exploration takes us from yeast to psychedelics, to the fungi that range for miles underground and are the largest organisms on the planet, to those that link plants together in complex networks known as the “Wood Wide Web,” to those that infiltrate and manipulate insect bodies with devastating precision.
Fungi throw our concepts of individuality and even intelligence into question. They are metabolic masters, earth makers, and key players in most of life’s processes. They can change our minds, heal our bodies, and even help us remediate environmental disaster. By examining fungi on their own terms, Sheldrake reveals how these extraordinary organisms—and our relationships with them—are changing our understanding of how life works.
Praise for Entangled Life
“Entangled Life is a gorgeous book of literary nature writing in the tradition of [Robert] Macfarlane and John Fowles, ripe with insight and erudition. . . . food for the soul.”—Eugenia Bone, Wall Street Journal
“[An] ebullient and ambitious exploration . . . This book may not be a psychedelic—and unlike Sheldrake, I haven’t dared to consume my copy (yet)—but reading it left me not just moved but altered, eager to disseminate its message of what fungi can do.”—Jennifer Szalai, The New York Times
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Starting with buds and seeds, Uncle George inspires Tom, Frank, and Dolly to observe changes in plant growth over days and even weeks. By setting up an aquarium for their finds from the pond, Uncle George faciliates their observation of the life cycle of frogs, toad, and newts. And building a larva cage with multiple compartments provides housing for caterpillars and caddis worms so his youthful companions can watch their transformation into butterflies and caddis flies.Throughout Uncle George asks questions to prompt their discoveries and guide their comparisons.
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