Friday, June 1, 2012


Just finished a new book - Mycophilia: Revelations from the Weird World of Mushrooms by Eugenia Bone (Rodale Books, 2011).

I have to admit to mixed feelings about this book.  While there was some interesting information about mushrooms, and fungi in general, and many of the anecdotes about people consumed by mycophilia (a love of mushrooms) were interesting, most of the book was really a personal account of the author's ever-increasing passion for finding, collecting, and eating wild mushrooms.

Problem was I found myself not liking the author.  But that's probably just me.  I have far more interest in the science of fungi (which was superficial in this book) than in the travels and experiences of a wealthy, somewhat insular, Manhattanite (she acts surprised that guys who look like mountain men with beards and flannel shirts are actually intelligent and extremely knowledgeable about mushrooms).  What, smart people outside of Manhattan?  And dressed so unfashionably too?

Much of the book is about Bone - her naked soaks in the hot tub interviewing mushroom collectors at a conference/retreat in the Pacific Northwest, her fear of going into the woods when she has her period because of bears, her shroom trip, her collecting trips in the "wilderness" to pick mushrooms, her mushroom-themed dinners in Manhattan, her experiences with eccentric mushroom collectors, etc.  Some of it was interesting in a gossipy sort of way, other stuff was boring to me.

There were also virtually no illustrations (and the illustrations that did exist were terrible quality).  A photo section would have improved the book.

On the plus side, I did want to read more about mushrooms after finishing her account.  But I want more of the science of mycology (and to learn how to identify what I see when I'm out hiking).

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