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.


Be part of the PLS Big Read Photo Contest

PLS Big Read logoA story of the blended backgrounds of a group of men weaves its way through some of the picturesque settings of the Rocky Mountains as part of Ron Carlson's novel Five Skies.

The novel, the selected work for this year's PLS Big Read in the Pioneer Library System, paints many pictures of not just the scenery but the lives of those living in it.

To add an artistic element to celebrate that surrounding world as the novel does, there will be a PLS Big Read Photo Contest conducted along with other activities of this year's PLS Big Read.

Entries for the contest will be taken from Feb. 1 through Feb. 28. Topics for photos mirror those explored in the book and include good work, nature, guilt, mercy, friendship/relationship and building/rebuilding.

Amateur photographers ages 12 and up may participate. Their photos should be original and taken by the person submitting it. Entries will be judged on artistic creativity, technical skill and representation of book theme.

Additional rules: photos must be high resolution, at least 5 MP and in either .jpg or .tif format. Photos will become the property of the Pioneer Library System and may be used for the library's purposes. Submissions may be made to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. between Feb. 1 and Feb. 28.

Winners and prizes will be announced in early March prior to the conclusion of this year's PLS Big Read.

The NEA 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.