One of the perks of being a writer is that you also have to keep up on your reading. At a time when we all waste too much time frittering away on the screen, it is a Lent discipline of mine this year to have less screen time and more book time. I have a policy that I try to at least take a look at every book that comes across my desk. For many I don’t get past the first page–either because they are badly written or the content does not appeal to me or it it is simply repeating the same old stuff.

Because of this I often find myself reading two or three books at a time from totally different authors on totally different subjects. It’s my challenge to connect the dots and see unifying themes.

So over the last couple of weeks I found myself reading books by two Josephs. Joseph Sciambra’s memoir Disordered and Joseph Pearce’s biography of Alexander Solzhenitsyn, A Soul in Exile. Joseph Sciambra–for those who don’t know him, is a former gay porn actor. In Disordered he tells how, as a young man, he made his way to San Francisco and got involved in the gay scene. Joseph’s book is an unrelenting journey into the darkest of dungeons. Longing for the love of a true male friend, he falls into the trap of the homosexual lifestyle. Sciambra does not spare the reader the details, and anyone thinking of reading Joseph’s book should be warned-you will be confronted with scenes of utter, hellish deprivation. There are few writers willing to discuss the sordid and lurid extremes of the homosexual underworld, but Sciambra does not falter.

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