When you’re not studying psilocybin mushroom spores under your microscope, the next best thing to do is to read about fungi!

Fortunately, as amateur microscopists and mycologists, we’re really quite blessed with an absolute abundance of excellent books to choose from. In today’s post, we’ll go over five of the really great ones—but this is by no means whatsoever a comprehensive list, just a great starting point for anyone interested in learning more about fungi.

If this post garners enough interest from readers like you, we’ll happily compile another batch. So make sure to let us know what you think and share some of your own favorites!

Let’s get started with a modern-day classic:

#1 – The Kingdom Fungi by Steven L. Stephenson

Actually, fungi are among the most important inhabitants of the natural world, and there is little question that everyone should have a fundamental knowledge of what fungi are, what they look like, where they occur, and what they do.

Steven L. Stephenson, The Kingdom Fungi

What a lovely quote. Oh, if only that was so!

The Kingdom Fungi is an absolutely phenomenal book for the beginner or hobbyist mycologist. Get it. The first chapter provides an easy-to-understand answer to that surprisingly elusive question: “What Are Fungi?”

Stephenson, a clear expert, manages to answer that question and more without condescending to the reader—while the subject matter could at times be described as “dense,” the author refrains from dumbing down the information presented, instead striking a wonderful balance between readability and hard science.

If you were to read a single chapter of The Kingdom Fungi, it should be chapter 9, “The Role of Fungi in Nature”. In this section of the book, Stephenson discusses the many responsibilities of fungi in our ecosystem, with particular emphasis on its role as the great decomposer and why that’s such a critical function.

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#2 – Radical Mycology by Peter McCoy

Cover of the book Radical Mycology.

Fungi are the grand healers of the world. Theirs is a medicine of uniting, drawing in, and deep cleansing that tonifies whole ecosystems and raises the vitality of all those whom they synergize.

Peter McCoy, Radical Mycology

Aside from just having a really cool cover, Radical Mycology: A Treatise On Seeing & Working With Fungi by Peter McCoy is a massive, nearly 700 page tome of fungi information.

What information, exactly?

Well, that’s actually a bit difficult to answer. Radical Mycology is one of those books that you can pick up, flip to a random page, and just start reading. Interspersed between highly detailed chapters about fungal biology are short essays, random facts, and some surprisingly deep philosophical musings.

McCoy’s writing style is conversational, inviting, and even at times humorous—but never boring. This is an excellent book for both beginners and experts alike who want to discover new, out-of-the-box reasons to be excited about mycology.

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#3 – Fantastic Fungi by Multiple Authors, Including Paul Stamets, Dennis McKenna, and Michael Pollan

Cover of the book Fantastic Fungi.

What we don’t know about psychoactive mushrooms far exceeds what we do know. But one thing is becoming certain: Their effectiveness in treating a range of psycho-emotional disorders can no longer be ignored.

Michael Pollan, Fantastic Fungi

Fantastic Fungi: How Mushrooms Can Heal, Shift Consciousness, and Save the Planet is a wonderful compilation of essays with contributions from scientists, doctors, artists, and even chefs. In aggregate, the book is probably best described as a collection of love letters to our fungal friends.

Split into three sections, “For the Planet”, “For the Body”, and “For the Spirit”, the book is an entertaining and educational trove of information from authors like Paul Stamets, Dennis McKenna (the brother of Terence McKenna), Michael Pollan, Paul McCoy (of Radical Mycology fame, seen above), among others.

Fantastic Fungi is an excellent book if you’re looking to learn new ways that humans—and indeed, our planet—can interact and benefit from a relationship with fungi.

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#4 – The Psilocybin Solution by Simon Powell

Cover of the book The Psilocybin Solution.

Viewed in the historical light of the Aztec and the Mayan empires, and to a lesser extent in pre-Hispanic Colombian culture, the psilocybin mushroom emerges as the conductor of a sacred legacy.

Simon Powell, The Psilocybin Solution

At its core, The Psilocybin Solution is a passionate plea to scientists, medical practitioners, and governments around the world to understand and embrace the therapeutic benefits of psilocybin.

In this book, author Simon Powell takes the reader on a journey where they’ll learn not only about the history of psilocybin, but the promise that the future may hold. In an approachable manner, he delves into the neurochemistry, psychology, and spiritual benefits of the oft-misunderstood compound, ultimately crafting a heartfelt and compelling case for more decriminalization and legalization efforts.

The Psilocybin Solution is a must-read for anyone interested in understanding more about the therapeutic applications of psilocybin.

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#5 – Mycelium Running by Paul Stamets

Cover of the book Mycelium Running.

I believe that mycelium is the neurological network of nature. Interlacing mosaics of mycelium infuse habitats with information-sharing membranes. These membranes are aware, react to change, and collectively have the long-term health of the host environment in mind.

Paul Stamets, Mycelium Running

Mycelium Running: How mushrooms Can Help Save the World is a book all about mycoremediation, a topic we explored in our post Understanding Mycoremediation: Can Mycelium Really Save the World?. It’s a big topic, but for a very high-level overview, check out that post.

In a nutshell, mycoremediation is a method of environmental remediation (removing toxins from a natural area) using the “digestive” power of mycelium. It’s absolutely fascinating and, yes, could quite possibly end up being one of the most significant discoveries of our time. If that sounds interesting to you, the excellent Mycelium Running will tell you everything you need to know about the process.

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Learn More About Fungi, Amateur Microscopy, & Studying Psilocybin Mushroom Spores at Home

Picking up any of the books mentioned in this post will give you a much more rounded knowledge of fungi—and likely inspire you to do some more hands-on studying as well!

Quality Spores carries a large variety of psilocybin mushroom spore strains, all of which are viable, contaminant-free, and ready to be shipped discreetly to your doorstep. You can learn more about the amateur microscopy hobby here, or simply start shopping for microscopy equipment or exotic mushroom spores now.