About Adult Fiction

Adult fiction from 100+ years ago is certainly…different from Adult Fiction of today.  Some would say it has “evolved”.  Others, and The Droning Voice is in this camp, say it has “devolved”.  For those raised on current authors, The Droning Voice can assure you that there are far fewer explosions, less profanity – though words like “scoundrel” were used -, more descriptions of being “perturbed”, and WAY more clothing.  Given the lack of on-demand temperature control, The Droning Voice is amazed those people didn’t just pass out from the heat, OR spend all their time huddled in front of their woodstove in a vain attempt to stay warm and not losing key fingers to frostbite.  The only people being dispatched usually had it coming (NO charges filed), and it was typically attended to discreetly, and usually to defend the heroine’s honor.  Actually, EVERYTHING was much more discreet, including how the lead characters in most of these novels procured their income.  The Droning Voice assumes they were ALL trust-fund babies.  God forbid they actually WORK for a living.  In today’s literature, yes, even working in an office can be rife with romantic intrigue and deeds of daring-do, and WAY more skin (often involving office desks).  But in the late 1800s and early 1900s, even the hint of such a thing would cause any lady to swoon, with a gentleman being quick to catch her.  Men were always hoping to catch a swooning heroine, that being the only time they could honorably grope her.  And EVERYBODY kept a small bottle of something called smelling salts on hand for just such an occasion.  Really, The Droning Voice thinks a small bottle of that stuff might be just the thing to wave under another person’s nose when said nose is getting “out of joint”.  Maybe, just maybe, it could snap them out of it, though The Droning Voice is skeptical.  Let her know how it goes!

Also, it seems that most of the heroes from the fiction of that era rode horses.  Given the costs involved with owning an automobile or other vehicle today, riding a horse to work may be exactly what the modern day businessman should be doing.  #historyrepeatsitself
If the listener is used to the works of, well, The Droning Voice won’t mention NAMES, any of these selections should put you right to sleep.  She sincerely hopes you have a good time reading the reviews while deciding which one to bore you into slumber.

As always, pleasant dreams!

Tom Swift and His Wireless Message

This book claims to have been written by a very proper, The Droning Voice is sure, gentleman by the name of “Victor Appleton”. In reality, though, it was ghost-written by some shadowy member of the Stratmeyer Syndicate. THOSE people had an iron grip on fiction aimed at children of all ages, and trust The Droning Voice when she says you probably need to be VERY COMPLIMENTARY of their publications. The Droning Voice was morbidly curious about their reach, though, so, with trembling fingers, looked them up on Wikipedia.

OMG. They started publishing in 1899, and appear to have maybe finished up in 2005. Maybe. You never know.

There were also subsequent iterations of “Tom Swift”, but this particular book was published in the first set, before Tom became associated with witty adverbs, otherwise known as “Tom Swifties”.

No silly puns in THIS book, no sirree. In fact, one of the first things we need to do is examine the characters of the story, namely:

Tom Swift – Our hero, and youthful inventor of high character. Intimidated by a roomful of pretty girls. Well-respected by all except the town bully who is just jealous.
Andy Foger – said bully, and pain in the neck. After he destroys Tom’s lovely little monoplane, Tom declares Andy to be a “scoundrel”. Tom and Andy have a skirmish early in the book that, today, would have resulted in multiple felony chargers.
Mr. Wakefield Damon – Eccentric and fanboy of Tom. He blesses EVERYTHING, BTW. In this book, a few of his things he blesses include: watch-chain, multiplication tables, kitchen-range, collar button, shoe-laces, deflection rudder, pocket knife, radiator, individuality, gizzard, storage battery…you get the drift.
Mary Nestor – Tom’s girlfriend. She makes an appearance in the book mainly to provide apple turnovers, and to worry about her parents. Poor Mary had Tom drive her to the “Intelligence Office”, which is, apparently, where one went to find employees, when one’s cook abruptly quits on one for demanding apple turnovers, and one simply didn’t know what one was going to do. Mary certainly seemed incapable of creating apple turnovers. And, as everybody knows, the BEST cooks are Irish, so that is what Mary had to have. Not to be racist. Speaking of which
Eradicate Samson – is the handyman about town, who always travels with his trusty steed, Boomerang the mule. The Droning Voice points out that Tom lives in NY state, but that Eradicate speaks a particular “southern” dialect, which was dutifully transliterated by “Mr. Appleton”, and then attempted to be pronounced by The Droning Voice. If you thought her French was bad, just wait until you hear this. Also, The Droning Voice finds the name of this character particularly apt, and wonders if “cancel culture” won’t come for her, possibly beating the Stratmeyer Syndicate to the punch.

Oh, yeah. The plot. Most of the book is devoted to flying about either in Tom’s monoplane or on Mr. Fenwick’s airship, which, The Droning Voice assumes, was some sort of dirigible. At any rate, they load up this airship with piles of supplies for a test-flight/day journey, get caught in a hurricane, get swept down to somewhere near the West Indies and crash on an island which is about to collapse from earthquakes. The SAME island where Mary’s parents wind up shipwrecked from a pleasure cruise. Of course. And Tom, of course, figures out how to create a ham station from the airship wreckage, complete with shack, sends out “C.Q.D.” and gets them all rescued. Really, it’s a GREAT book. Please call off your goons.

Pleasant dreams, devoid of goons.


White Sox

Just so you know, this slim book has NOTHING to do with the Black Sox Scandal.  Furthermore, it has nothing to do with Baseball OR Chicago, which is all good, at least to The Droning Voice. It is, in fact, about reindeer.

And, just so you know, this has nothing to do with any of the reindeer involved in pulling Santa’s sled full of toys. Nope. THIS book is sanctioned by the full backing of THE WORLD BOOK COMPANY, located in Yonkers-on-Hudson, NY, which is nowhere near the North Pole. All the action takes place kinda in that vicinity, though. The North Pole. Not Yonkers-on-Hudson. And, unlike many of the children’s books The Droning Voice has read, none of the critters in this book wear anything remotely resembling a monocule or top-hat or even spats. There is, however, a mention of a “seal-leather thong”, but The Droning Voice hastens to assure the listener that such a thong had a much different use back in the 1920s in Alaska than might be employed today, particularly in certain nightclubs in San Francisco.

This book teaches the listener probably more than they wanted to know about actual reindeer, and their caribou cousins up in the northern latitudes. It is the story of a wise Mother Reindeer teaching her young fawn, White Sox, all about being a reindeer. They manage, somehow – it is never explained how, exactly – to get away from their herd and hang with their caribou cousins for a while, where White Sox learns all about the hazards of living in the wild and being considered tasty to wolves. And he experiences “Antler Envy” when he notices his caribou cousins have larger antlers than he. The Droning Voice was glad his mother was able to assuage his youthful concerns in that area. Every good mother assures her son that size doesn’t really matter.

Also, at one point White Sox and his mom have to escape wolves by running into a marshy area that is basically a natural super-fund site, with oil just laying about the surface of the land and water. They slowly wade through it, knowing the wolves’ will have to turn back, and turning White Sox’s legs black in the process. Ick. It is a good (?) thing these oil lakes near Point Barrow were discovered by oil companies in the early 1920s, so that they could get to cleaning them up. So to speak.

If you simply MUST know where Point Barrow is, the author of this book, Mr. Lopp, tells the student to open up a map of Alaska and find the 71st parallel. The Droning Voice managed to find it on her ca. 1960’s era globe, which also has all kinds of countries on it that no longer technically exist.

Mother Reindeer then tells White Sox the history of how the reindeer came to be in the service of man (woman, humans, LGBTQMNOP) involving a caribou fawn named “White Feet”, but given what he DID, should’ve been call “Brown Nose”. The Droning Voice will leave it at that.

Sweet dreams with visions of sugar plums!

Here is a sample of White Sox:

This is a short example of The Droning Voice.  Subscribers can access the full-length version and really put themselves to sleep.  Here is how to subscribe.

The Tale of Jasper Jay

“Dandy” – “Rowdy” – “Scamp”

The above terms are what Mr. Bailey used to describe Jasper Jay. Clearly Mr. Bailey disapproved of flashy attire, no matter who was wearing it. If one was a “dandy”, the other adjectives naturally followed. The Droning Voice can only imagine what sort of words he would have used to describe a peacock, which, to The Droning Voice looks like the avian version of a Drag Queen but with even MORE pizzazz (if such a thing were possible).

This book starts (and ends) with what Jasper Jay likes to eat, particularly beechnuts. Since The Droning Voice had only vaguely heard of beechnuts, preferring to get her nuts pre-shelled, roasted, salted, and dished out in handy cans, she went to the ‘net to provide you a link complete with pictures so that you can go forage some for yourself. She read somewhere that they are edible, so it HAS to be true.

Oh, and Blue Jays are NOISY, in case you didn’t already know.

She learned about an ailment (suffered by Old Mr. Crow) called “Housemaid’s Knee”, which turns out to be some kind of inflammation of the bursa behind the patella (knee cap). The Droning Voice was unaware that crows even HAD knees, much less were in the domestic employment industry. Okie-dokey.

She also learned that Mrs. Green called her family in to meals by blowing some sort of instrument, though it is never stated what kind. A trombone? An alpine horn? A digeridoo? A shofar? The imagination runs wild.

If you stay awake long enough, you will find out that the “Pleasant Valley Singing Society”, lead by a Mr. Valentine Veery, liked to sing “Good Night Ladies”.

And with THAT ear worm, The Droning Voice wishes you …

Pleasant Dreams!

Here is a sample of The Tale of Jasper Jay:

This is a short example of The Droning Voice.  Subscribers can access the full-length version and really put themselves to sleep.  Here is how to subscribe.

Automobile Engineering Part One

The wide-awake listener has The Droning Voice’s brother-in-law to thank for this particular selection. Where he obtained it is unknown, though The Droning Voice acknowledges his mechanical prowess when it comes to motors of all kinds. Still…1917? One assumes there has been a certain amount of progress in that area, but one never knows. The Droning Voice certainly doesn’t.

This book had PAGES of authors and contributors, all of whom were experts in Automobile Engineering, The Droning Voice is sure. And she read ALL their names out loud, including that of Sir Hiram Maxim who invented many useful household items, including the hair-curling iron, the mousetrap, and the automatic machine gun.  Not to be confused with Hiram Percy Maxim, the co-founder of the American Radio Relay League.  The original Radio Boy, after growing up with the inventor of the automatic machine gun for his dad, invented the silencer.  His dad would have been so proud.

There were names of automobiles listed which, while perhaps familiar and well-loved by vintage car enthusiasts, were completely unfamiliar to The Droning Voice. For instance, the Franklin, and the Marmon. She is confident these noble vehicles had at least as much integrity as any American cars manufactured in the 1970s, and certainly were classier. Exhibit A would be the AMC Gremlin. Or Ford Pinto. Or whatever car it was that might explode at any given moment.

There were all kinds of terms The Droning Voice had never heard of including “babbitt” (which has TWO wildly differing definitions), “broaching”(which has even more definitions), “bosses” (don’t get The Droning Voice started), and “dog” which, given the context, The Droning Voice assumed had something to do with automotive repairs. She was delighted however, when, after she typed in “dog” looking for the actual definition regarding automotive repair, Google instead took her straight to automatic dog toy ball launchers. Any automotive repair shop worth its salt should have at least one of these, as well as an actual, you know, DOG (arf, arf).

At some point she even read “en bloc”, which shouldn’t have surprised her, given the reputation France has for producing outstanding AND reliable cars.

Also, every GOOD auto shop should have a stethoscope on hand, according to this book, supposedly to listen to the crankcase. The Droning Voice thinks it may also be handy when the repair bill is handed over to the customer.

Oh, and there was something about “road inequalities”. The Droning Voice had NO IDEA this was even a thing back in 1917, and thinks it should be resurrected immediately. Those with hair-trigger indignation have your marching orders.

Pleasant Dreams!

Here is a sample of Automotive Engineering Part One:

This is a short example of The Droning Voice.  Subscribers can access the full-length version and really put themselves to sleep.  Here is how to subscribe.

The Eclectic Complete Book-keeping

“Double-entry book-keeping, while a science, deserves to rank among the Fine Arts.”

Yeah, tell that to the judge. The Droning Voice won’t name NAMES, but is certain that many politicians AND corporations, of which, due to their artistic book-keeping practices, are either in prison or no longer exist.

This book was so incredibly tedious that The Droning Voice had to space her drones of it with not just one, but TWO other books. When she finally finished the last page, there was great rejoicing involving a bowl of Chocolate Mint ice-cream.

One of the phrases, used repeatedly in this book, which helped The Droning Voice stay awake was “his business” – a term which her grandfather-in-law used to refer to a gentleman’s naughty bits. One of the passages reads, in part “the number and kind of books required depend…on the extent of his business.”  Adolescent snickering ensued. Really, it is always good to know what one’s business is up to.

While The Droning Voice is KEENLY aware this book is all about book-keeping, she also believes growing one’s vocabulary, especially about popular terms for male genitalia. If you would like to know even more terms for this particular piece of anatomy, she enthusiastically recommends the Big Damn Book of Sheer Manliness.

Also, there is poetry in this book, which surprised The Droning Voice. She didn’t realize accountants could be so…romantic.

“By Journal laws what we receive
Is Debtor made to what we give.
Stock for our debts must Debtor be,
And creditor for property.
Profit and Loss accounts are plain;
We debit Loss and credit Gain.”

The Droning Voice knows that people often like to tout their credentials after their names, but was stunned to see what Mr. Mayhew was proud to proclaim, though understands that, in a way, he WAS pimping himself out to book publishers. She is certain he made a fortune.

Pleasant dreams!

Here is a sample of The Eclectic Complete Book-keeping:


This is a short example of The Droning Voice.  Subscribers can access the full-length version and really put themselves to sleep.  Here is how to subscribe.



The Tale of Jolly Robin

The Droning Voice learned a LOT about birds in this little book. For instance, she learned that birds, according to the author, Arthur Scott Bailey, can READ. Or at least Jasper Jay can, but then members of that particular family of birds are notably intelligent by human standards, though some people would argue that isn’t really saying much. But still.

Speaking of Jasper Jay, the author did mention the ornithological fact that Jays and Crows are cousins. Important to the plot line, because Old Mr. Crow actually hires Jolly Robin to laugh for him – an early adoptee of the practice of engaging a claque. However, Jolly Robin, not having the intelligence of members of the corvid family (The Droning Voice knows WAY too much about birds), spends his time laughing at Old Mr. Crow and winds up getting fired. Oh, well. One can only hope Jolly Robin was able to file for unemployment.

There were other not-too-exciting plots involving a snowman, a (spoiler) weather vane, and a four-armed man who was lugging pails of milk into the “buttery”. The Droning Voice was confident she knew the meaning of “buttery,” assuming that, since the man was hauling milk from the cow barn into some sort of room, the milk was going to be churned into butter. Imagine her surprise when she went online to verify her assumption and discovered that while a “buttery” is, in fact, a room, it is a room for storing LIQUOR. So, in this book written for children, there is a reference to some pre-prohibition dairy-based moonshine still at Farmer Green’s “farm.” Hey, go see for yourself.

And, of course, Old Mr. Crow knew ALL about it, making him an accomplice in this little enterprise.

Jolly Robin also gets in BIG trouble with his wife for staying out all night with that good-for-nothing Willie Whip-poor-will. Take note, gentlemen. If you want to keep your wife smiling, don’t stay out all night with Willie Whip-poor-will (or anybody else).

And with that bit of wisdom, pleasant dreams!

Here is a sample of The Tale of Jolly Robin:


This is a short example of The Droning Voice.  Subscribers can access the full-length version and really put themselves to sleep.  Here is how to subscribe.

The Alternative

The Droning Voice knows she promised, at some point, to never drone one of those insipid romance novels with formulaic plots involving muscular, brooding heroes, and saucy heroines whose bodices can barely contain their ample bosoms.

And she is keeping her promise (so far).

THIS romance novel (she is guessing it is a romance novel) gives the listener a peek into the life of an early 20th century New York Society gentleman.  They belonged to various clubs, they attended the best universities, they had fanciful nicknames, and, above all, they did NOT have jobs.  They, apparently, lived off the interest from trust funds and hoped to marry a wealthy heiress (or widow), the better to keep from having to get an actual JOB.

This appears to have really been a thing.  Heck, it may still be, for all The Droning Voice knows.  SHE lives, very happily, FAR from New York City Society and so is blissfully ignorant of the daily grind those folks must feel…determining which party invitation to accept (or decline), who to snub, which club to join.  But she is not without empathy.  “There, there”, she says, consoling the New York City Society elite. “There, there.”

AT ANY RATE, the hero in this romance (?) ultimately decides to marry only for love, and the object of his affection has been lowered in rank to “secretary” (gasp!), though was, of course, from one of New York’s finest, though fallen, families.  And then he (double gasp!!) actually Gets A Job, sending his poor father into a fit of apoplexy.  The beautiful secretary, of course, is extremely proper, only allowing color to rise in her cheeks as she demurely returns, briefly, a squeeze of his hand.  Then there is a pretty little tableau at the end, leaving our couple close together, him gently kissing her closed eyes as she rests her head on his chest (or something like that), as her hand delicately caresses his cheek.

No cold showers needed after THIS book is read, though, given the descriptions of a blizzard, a nice cup of something warm may help one be thankful for modern heating systems.  It may also help you drift off to sleep.

Pleasant dreams!

Here is a sample of The Alternative:


This is a short example of The Droning Voice.  Subscribers can access the full-length version and really put themselves to sleep.  Here is how to subscribe.

Little White Mice Boy

The Droning Voice had no idea what to expect when she snagged this small book from a box of old books belonging to a friend.  It was clearly old, and the inscription on the front cover read, “Presented to Angelo Scott by his teacher Hannie Adam – March 1892”.  The Droning Voice was quite impressed with the flourishes of the teacher’s cursive writing, and firmly believes THAT particular art form would be well-worth bringing back to our school rooms, complete with India ink and quill pens.  She adds that “Comet” brand cleanser will remove most of the ink stain from your fingers, if not the skin itself.

But she digresses.

The problem The Droning Voice faced was that there was NO copyright date inside.  So off to Amazon she went, and was delighted to find that there was not just one, but TWO copies of this same book for sale, listing the publishing date as 1870.  They were also for sale for the rather princely sum of $34 each, in case you simply must possess one.  The Droning Voice might be able to procure you a copy for considerably less, if her friend will give her a cut of the swag.


Inside the book are 7 stories, of sorts.  They are certainly not of the swashbuckling adventure type, nor soppy romances, nor anything remotely like what you would expect ANY best-seller to be composed of.  One story is about a grandfather taking shelter in a convent in Switzerland during a snow storm, another is about how exciting it was for children to anticipate playing in snow, another is about various roses, another is a grim reminder that, during the 1870s, dead babies were kind of a regular, though sad, thing that happened.  Yes, these are stories for children.  Or so The Droning Voice assumes.

The Droning Voice has faithfully read all of the stories with the enthusiasm of asphalt.  She sincerely hopes they put you right to sleep, or at least lulls you into a stupor.

Pleasant lulling stupors!

Here is a sample of Little White Mice Boy:


This is a short example of The Droning Voice.  Subscribers can access the full-length version and really put themselves to sleep.  Here is how to subscribe.

Pleasant Hours with Illustrious Men and Women

This book is exactly the type of biographical compilations that can put even the hard-core insomniac to sleep.  It is full of dates of births, of weddings, of deaths of relatives, of travels, of elections, performances, publications.  Some of the names included in this tome are ones most people with a passing knowledge of history will have heard of.  Others, not so much.

The Droning Voice doesn’t judge, really, but does wonder why Mozart was included with such indeed illustrious musicians as Theodore Thomas, and some guy named “Levy” (he played the cornet, by the way).  Also, her pulse quickened when she saw, in the table of contents, “Pen and Ink Sketches of President Harrison’s Cabinet”, though was disappointed to discover this section had nothing whatsoever to do with furniture.

There is a long section of various “statesmen”, perhaps giving homage to a politician’s ability to bloviate, then shorter sections for poets, writers, actors, and random ilk the author of this book decided, for some reason, to include, while deliberately snubbing other very worthy personages who well deserve to have the dates of their marriages remembered in perpetuity.

There are samples of poems, of writings, of speeches.  The Droning Voice is aware there are likely pronunciation tools available online, but steadfastly refuses to use them, preferring, instead, to drone on through, stumbling over now archaic names of cities in Africa.  If the listener is awake enough to send snarky comments to The Droning Voice, she has failed miserably in her attempt to put said listener to sleep, and gently suggests a different selection, like “Applied Electrochemistry”.

After editing for brevity, The Droning Voice nevertheless recorded for nearly eleven (11) hours to bring you this book.   She doesn’t ask for much, but The Droning Voice is grateful to all who send her various cough drops and throat remedies to keep her soothing, dulcet voice droning on.  Seriously.  Somebody send some candy.

Pleasant hours of dreams!

Here is a sample of Pleasant Hours with Illustrious Men and Women:


This is a short example of The Droning Voice.  Subscribers can access the full-length version and really put themselves to sleep.  Here is how to subscribe.