cloth, 655 pp., $55.00
Mushrooms are ubiquitous, diverse, colorful, variously shaped, tasty to deadly, ecologically beneficial, and mysterious. The Book of Fungi covers all of these topics. It is not intended to be a field guide. Rather it is a colorful introduction to 600 species of mushrooms, bracket fungi, crusts, puffballs, jellies, corals, truffles, flasks, and lichens, a number of which are not typically included in books. Each species is illustrated by a line drawing, at least one nice color photo, and a map showing its distribution along with an informative short discussion of its ecology, distribution range, interesting features, and list of similar species. Introductory pages provide a nice short overview of what fungi are and what they do. The book is too large to work in the field but far too serious to be treated as a mere decoration for a coffee table. Its strength lies in the unique set of species that it covers such as the Australian green skinhead (Cortinarius astrovenetus), South American smooth leather-coral (Lahnocladium denudatum), Subsaharan coralhead stinkhorn (Lysurus corallocephallus), and Moroccan desert truffle (Terfezia arenaria).
— Gregory M. Mueller, mycologist and vice president of Science and Academic Programs, Chicago Botanic Garden