Big Read 2018: Five Skies by Ron Carlson

Five Skies by Ron Carlson is the story of three men gathered high in the Rocky Mountains for a construction project that is to last the summer. Having participated in a spectacular betrayal in Los Angeles, the giant, silent Arthur Key drifts into work as a carpenter in southern Idaho. Here he is hired, along with the shiftless and charming Ronnie Panelli, to build a stunt ramp beside a cavernous void. The two will be led by Darwin Gallegos, the foreman of the local ranch who is filled with a primeval rage at God, at man, at life.

As they endeavor upon this simple, grand project, the three reveal themselves in cautiously resonant, profound ways. And in a voice of striking intimacy and grace, Carlson's novel reveals itself as a story of biblical, almost spiritual force. A bellwether return from one of our greatest craftsmen, Five Skies is sure to be one of the most praised and cherished novels of the year.


Announcing the winners of the PLS Big Read Photo Contest

Angela Stanley-Coolahan and PLS Assistant Director Aiden StreetAs part of the 12th edition of The Big Read and PLS Big Read, the Pioneer Library System invited photographers to share photographs as part of the PLS Big Read Photo Contest.

There were more than 30 entries for the contest, with winners announced on Thursday during a videoconference presentation with Ron Carlson, author of this year’s PLS Big Read novel, Five Skies.

The contest winner was Angela Stanley-Coolahan. She attended the event and received a gift card and a copy of Five Skies autographed by Mr. Carlson, courtesy of the Pioneer Library System Foundation.

Second-place finisher was Rhonda Calhoun while the third-place finisher was Sam Bowen.

All winning photos were displayed at the event, and copies of all the entries received for the contest also were made available at tables set up for the presentation, which took place at the National Weather Center on the campus of the University of Oklahoma.

Contest winnerTopics for photo entries mirrored those explored in the book and included good work, nature, guilt, mercy, friendship/relationship and building/rebuilding.

A similar contest for PLS staff members also took place. Winners were a tie for 1st  between Andrew Peters and Paul Clark, and Grace Pistilli, 3rd.

The National Endowment for the Arts has funded five Big Read projects for PLS:  The Grapes of Wrath in 2007; Bless Me, Ultima in 2008; The Maltese Falcon in 2010, Old School in 2013 and A Wizard of Earthsea in 2015. PLS Big Reads produced solely with state and local funding include were To Kill a Mockingbird in 2009; The Things They Carried in 2011, The Joy Luck Club in 2012, True Grit in 2014, Fahrenheit 451 in 2016, Being Mortal in 2017 and this year’s project.

Sponsors for this year’s activities are the Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation, Norman Arts Council, Pioneer Library System Foundation and the Pioneer Library System.