Great Works

A few years ago, local author and thinker James Sloan Allen taught a class at the University of Hawaii about great books and the meaning of life. He finished a book on the same subject—the ambitious Worldly Wisdom: Great Books and the Meanings of Life came out last October. It looks at the human condition as seen through the lens of 50 classic works, from such authors as Homer and Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

The writer splits his time between Honolulu and Philadelphia, so I was pleased to hear that he and the book were honored at the Philadelphia Free Library’s annual gala, called the Borrower’s Ball.

Allen says he’s just finished a novel, Life Line. A Novel of Romance and Rebirth that he calls “a kind of philosophical love story.” Next, he says, he’ll be “concentrating on a collection of short stories that I’ve been writing on and off for a while set in various parts of the world, including a few stories set in Honolulu.” He’s tentatively calling the collection Dreamers and Runaways.

You can find his work at Amazon, or, read more about Worldly Wisdom at