The Mother of Theosophy by Charles River Editors Charles River Editors (e-book) That Helena Blavatsky continues to be written about today is testament to her influence, through Theosophy, on god botherers of the New Age persuasion. This biography provides a fairly balanced portrait of the woman who helped found the Theosophical Society in New York City in 1875. Providing succour to a society infatuated with spiritualism, it also attracted scrutiny. Ukraine-born Blavatsky was accused of being a charlatan, and it's not hard to see why. The group's beliefs at times read like gobbledygook: one of the seven "cosmic planes" they espoused was "Anupadaka (home of the divine spark in human beings, the Monad)". A mishmash of religions, including the Kabbalah, Theosophy, according to Blavatsky, dated back to the 3rd century AD and is "the Occult Science" practised by carefully selected individuals. One was Rudolf Steiner, who headed the German branch, although doctrinal disagreements led him to start his own philosophy called Anthroposophy. The $60,000 Dog by Lauren Slater (read by Cassandra Campbell) Audible, Inc(audiobook) Sixty years ago, pet owners typically spent about US$200 looking after their animals for their entire lifespans. Now, in the US, pet care averages US$10,000 to US$20,000 per beast. Lauren Slater peppers her book with such facts, although readers will remember it not for the research but the writing, all linked by her love of animals. Page after page offers memories and musings full of guts, insight and honesty. In seven autobiographical essays, Slater reveals life in a home with a mentally ill mother, whose marital relationship had deteriorated to the point "the silence could not be broken even when it was". The author reflects on her own family in the titular chapter, about her elderly dog Lila, who succumbs to glaucoma. As vet fees escalate, Slater has to choose between nurturing her pet and sending her child to summer camp. Squirrels, horses, cats, raccoons and birds appear in other chapters but not in the cutesy way one might imagine, judging by the cover. Don't be put off either by the prosaic title.