What are You Reading? With Tom Dettling

As we are all teleworking, learning from home, working from home, etc. due to the COVID-19 pandemic, RLB Library hopes you are able to continue reading and learning about your interests. We are continuing our What Are You Reading? blog series to share a few new titles and reading ideas! 

The What Are You Reading? blog series highlights books recommended by the RLB Library staff, student workers, and interns. Follow the blog to learn what we are all reading and find ideas for your next page-turner!

Today’s post was written by Tom Dettling, a UB undergraduate student pursuing a degree in the Simulation and Game Design major with a minor in Creative Writing. We hope you enjoy reading Tom’s thoughts on a few of his recent reading adventures in his own words:

Name: Tom Dettling, Special Collections & Archives Student Assistant

What have you been reading? A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway and Toll the Hounds by Steven Erikson.

Two book suggestions from Tom
Tom’s Recent Reads

Why did you choose these books?

I read Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises in my younger days and have always meant to come back to his body of work and explore further. Recently, I watched the 1952 film adaptation of Papa’s Snows of Kilimanjaro, starring Gregory Peck, which piqued my interest once again. (Perhaps it was blasphemous to watch this before reading the book, but I could not resist.) While on the hunt for A Farewell to Arms, I found a copy that contains the original artwork by Cleon Damianakes in all its Hellenic glory on the cover. It was all I could do to stifle a triumphant and childlike “Yesssss!” as I hurried to the store cashier. 

Toll the Hounds is the eighth entry in a massive ten novel fantasy series that I have been slogging through for years now. I have been reading epic series like this one since my youth (the Redwall series, Tolkien’s books, and Old Kingdom books) so this is a continuation of my interest in magical realms, ancient lore, and epic world building.


A Farewell to Arms is just what the field doctor ordered. Hemingway’s deep and significant realism cast against a war that grows more surreal in its recollection with the passage of time is storytelling at its finest. I’m taking a Fiction Writing Workshop this semester, so needless to say, I’m taking notes.

I’ve only just begun reading Toll the Hounds, but after thousands of pages and hundreds of characters to keep track of, I’m hoping that the storylines start to converge. I’m excited to see how it all wraps up, I expect a big payoff after all that reading!

How does this compare with what you typically read? 

As has been the case for much of my reading life, I often find myself in the midst of a series of fantasy novels. The high page counts really add up over the course of three or more entries to a series, which can feel daunting and leave less room to explore other authors. At this point I have just become accustomed to reading multiple books at once. While juggling a fantasy series in one hand, with the other I enjoy reading historical fiction or literary works from authors like William Faulkner, Mary Hunter Austin, or Cormac McCarthy, so Hemingway was a natural choice there.

Thanks for sharing your recent reads, Tom!

Looking for your next book? Remember, RLB Library offers e-books, databases, and more for the UB community that are easily accessible online. Learn more about our e-books with this LibGuide. During limited campus access, RLB Library also offers Curbside Pick-Up and Delivery of books and materials. Submit your request.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *