The 99th Monkey: A Spiritual Journalist's Misadventures with Gurus, Messiahs, Sex, Psychedelics, and Other Consciousness-Raising Experiments
Eliezer Sobel. Santa Monica, $16.95 paper (312p) ISBN 9781595800282
While a romp through the New Age is not everyone's cup of tea, novelist, publisher and editor Sobel (Minyan) does a fine job making his 30-year quest for spiritual awakening widely identifiable with a funny, clear-eyed account that takes readers around the world and through a gauntlet of gurus, shamans, workshops and retreats, not to mention sex and drugs (legal and otherwise). Sobel's twin assets are his willingness and his sense of humor, both apparent from the start in his encounter with a guru named Ram Dass, whose first instruction to Sobel is to take off his pants ("So I did"). Other episodes include Primal Therapy training with a teacher who rents his office space for porn production, the "est" training that teaches people to accept reality as it is (and then rope everyone they know into the program), and tours through Jerusalem, India and Brazil. Sobel's spiritual journey doesn't provide any answers (these days, the title on his business card is "Human Being") but provides lots of engaging, regular-guy perspective on modern man's confounding array of ancient and contemporary fulfillment schemes. (Mar.)
Causes Eliezer Sobel Supports
Int'l Campaign for TIbet, Amnesty Int'l, SEVA, World Wildlife Fund, Marijuana Policy Project.