The Head Trip: Adventures on the Wheel of Consciousness
by Jeff Warren. Random House, 2007

Jeff Warren spent several summers planting trees in northern Ontario, during which he frequently experienced something very odd. He would grab his shovel and start digging at 9 A.M., but when he would raise his head the sun would have moved to the other side of the sky and his watch would show 2 P.M.—and he would have no memory of the past five hours. The phenomenon got him thinking about awareness, and he embarked on a quest to find out as much as he could about the different versions of what we call consciousness.

He describes his wild journey in The Head Trip, in which he shows that there is a lot more to consciousness than simply being asleep or being awake. Warren introduces 12 distinct states of consciousness, ranging from well-known phenomena, such as the dreams of REM sleep, to more obscure experiences, such as the trance. He attempts to tie the different states together by likening them to the wedges on a roulette wheel representing the brain, spinning under the power of our biological clocks, but the metaphor seems arbitrary and does not add any insight to this otherwise stellar book.