Day of the Mushroom

Posted Apr 15, 2024

April 16th is Day of the Mushroom, and it is meant to celebrate all things fungi. Beyond the recent recognition of mushrooms as “trendy” or “aesthetic,” mushrooms have a long history, a bold present, and a fascinating future. 

For example, did you know that, according to the National Library of Medicine, mushroom toxicity has been implicated in the death of several historical figures since it was discovered millennia ago? 

Or how about that a recent study from the Society of Neuroscience has found that the psychedelic compound called psilocybin may be utilized effectively in some psychiatric treatment?

And in the future, BBC Earth predicts that as ecological passions continue to spread, fungi may well be fashioned into, well, fashion, not so different from leather? 

Whether fungus is poisoning people, improving their health, or simply offering their image in return for style, there is so mushroom for celebration! Come check out the library’s Day of the Mushroom display, as well as some fungi-filled media that may delight, inform, horrify, or all of the above!

Fungi-filled media that DELIGHTS: Mushroom Rain by Laura K. Zimmermann

Mushroom Rain is a youth book that can be enjoyed by readers of any age, as it fantastically captures the seemingly endless sights and smells that mushrooms may bestow. Whether mushrooms are giving off a bubblegum scent, becoming bioluminescent in the dark, or being incorporated into your favorite (or least favorite) dishes, mushrooms offer us so much magic! But don't dare call them plants; mushrooms are a fungi, which is a species more closely related to animals much like us humans! The weirdness and wonderfulness of mushrooms is portrayed through lovely artwork and lyrical prose.

Fungi-filled media that INFORMS: Most Delicious Poison by Noah Whiteman

Most Delicious Poison reaches beyond the scope of mushrooms to shed light on nature's poisons through both plants and fungi, many of which we consume regularly whether it be for flavor, health, or as a vice. This book peers deeply into the science of why so many poisonous substances exist within the world, and why exactly they impart such results upon our bodies and minds. 



Fungi-filled media that HORRIFIES: The Last of Us Season One

What would happen if cordyceps, a real-life fungal parasite whose spores can make zombified hosts of insects, could do the same thing to humans? Thankfully, this is not the case in reality, as a human's high body temperature and advanced immune system is no place for cordyceps to thrive. But in The Last of Us, cordyceps sees no such limits, and makes fungal monsters out of human hosts in this dystopian world. Based on the video game of the same name, this show will infect its viewers with humanity just as deeply as monsters.

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