Mushrooms are a funny thing, being at once loved, and feared. When they pop up in stories, they can be both life-saving and life-ending (or at least mind-altering, and I’ll leave it to you to decide if that is good or bad).
Whatever your thoughts on mushrooms, there is no doubt that fungi are currently enjoying some time in the spotlight, much to the delight of mycophiles everywhere.
From the cute to the dangerous to the useful, here are a few resources from the Winnipeg Public Library collection. Don’t worry, they won’t take up mush-room!
by Katrine Van Wyk
Natural remedies for various physical ailments are well known; now hitting the scene are supplements—made from berries, mushrooms, herbs, and other plants—that can help the body (and mind) adapt to stress. These “adaptogens” work towards restoring balance, enhancing focus and stamina, boosting energy, and improving mood. In Super Powders, health coach Katrine van Wyk takes 20 adaptogens and describes what they are and how to use them. She might recommend goji berries for mood, astragalus for immunity, reishi and moringa for anxiety relief.
This appealing book reveals everything you need to know about adaptogens and how to get started.
Mushrooms of the Northwest : A simple guide to common mushrooms by Teresa Marrone
Hundreds of full-colour photographs with easy-to-understand text make this a perfect visual guide. Learn about more than 400 species of common wild mushrooms found in the Northwest states of Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. The species are organized by shape, then by colour, so you can identify them by their visual characteristics. Plus, with the Top Edibles and Top Toxics sections, you’ll begin to learn which wild mushrooms are edible. The information in the book, written by Teresa Marrone and Drew Parker, is accessible to beginners but useful for even experienced mushroom seekers.
Mushrooms are popping up everywhere! On restaurant menus, in grocery aisles, at local farmer’s markets, and not just the ubiquitous white buttons we’ve seen for years. What once were exotic are now almost commonplace—shiitake, chanterelle, cremini, enoki, the list grows longer every year.
Understanding how mushrooms grow is crucial to successfully cultivating them, and Mushroom Cultivation offers comprehensive instruction both on how mushrooms grow and how you can cultivate them yourself to enrich your soil, speed up your composting, and even suppress weeds.
The Beauty by Aliya Whiteley
Somewhere away from the cities and towns, a group of men and boys gather around the fire each night to listen to their stories in the Valley of the Rocks. For when the women are all gone, the rest of your life is all there is for everyone. The men are waiting to pass into the night.
The story shall be told to preserve the past. History has gone back to its oral roots and the power of words is strong. Meet Nate, the storyteller, and the new secrets he brings back from the woods. William rules the group with youth and strength, but how long can that last? And what about Uncle Ted, who spends so much time out in the woods?
Hear the tales. Watch a myth be formed. For what can man hope to achieve in a world without women? When the past is only grief how long should you hold on to it? What secrets can the forest offer to change it all?
Discover the Beauty.
The Mushroom Fan Club by Elise Gravel
In this children’s book, Gravel takes us on a magical tour of the forest floor and examines a handful of her favorite alien specimens up close. While the beautiful coral mushroom looks like it belongs under the sea, the peculiar lactarius indigo may be better suited for outer space! From the fun-to-stomp puffballs to the prince of the stinkers—the stinkhorn mushroom—and the musically inclined chanterelles, Gravel shares her knowledge of this fascinating kingdom by bringing each species to life in full felt-tip marker glory.
The Mushroom Hunters: On the trail of an underground America by Langdon Cook
Within the dark corners of America’s forests grow culinary treasures. Chefs pay top dollar to showcase these elusive and beguiling ingredients on their menus. Whether dressing up a filet mignon with smoky morels or shaving luxurious white truffles over pasta, the most elegant restaurants across the country now feature an abundance of wild mushrooms.
The mushroom hunters, by contrast, are a rough lot. They live in the wilderness and move with the seasons. Motivated by Gold Rush desires, they haul improbable quantities of fungi from the woods for cash. Langdon Cook embeds himself in this shadowy subculture, reporting from both rural fringes and big-city eateries with the flair of a novelist, uncovering along the way what might be the last gasp of frontier-style capitalism.
If these titles whet your appetite for more mushroom knowledge, consider taking a peek at the documentary Know Your Mushrooms on our streaming service Kanopy, or see what we have on the mushrooms of Canada!