Bakersfield ranks last on literacy

Robin Shin, Online Editor

When I heard that for the second straight year, a study showed Bakersfield to be the most illiterate city in the United States, I was very shocked.  Maybe it is because I hang out with people who love to read and I too like to read.  Even before going to bed, I can’t sleep until I read a chapter or more of well anything!  Books, stories written by my friends online, and even just interesting articles of studies from all over the world.

Now, reading status updates from your friends on Facebook and Twitter is not really considered reading, but going to the library once to read will not hurt,  especially when you’re a college student and the school library is opened for students.

“I wish there’s a place where you can get books for free!” That is supposedly a joke my friend online told me once, and to that she told me that there are people who supposedly “joke” about it.  Well, I guess in Bakersfield that might as well be an honest question, because we supposedly don’t read.

Now, not knowing where you can borrow books for free may be irrelevant to some when it comes to reading, but we aren’t all too busy to read once in awhile.  I mean, we all know about the public library, right?  We aren’t that interested in reading that we don’t even know about a place where we have the right to borrow books for free.

I wrote an article about ebooks in the previous issue of the newspaper, and it will make it easy for anyone to read.  Now I’m not saying that everyone has to go out and read one book a month for the entire year, but I guess I’m saying if we can take the time for watching YouTube videos, then we have time for reading.  You can start by reading books on anything, there are books on every subject.

Go to your local bookstore, library or even just a thrift store where they have used books for sale.  I bought John le Carré’s “Our Kind of Traitor” for 75 cents at the local Goodwill, and it was basically in new condition!  And don’t even get me started about and their “used” book prices.

Books help broaden your imagination, and I know some people close to me who spit on that idea.  Okay, so you don’t need imagination to live, but reading won’t hurt you.

If you are in need of help but don’t want to talk to the mental health counselor or have the money to see a therapist, well then there are self-help books out there for you.  If you want to read about a major collection of books on the history of serial killers because you were interested in such things, then there are books like that out there too. There are literally books for anything, on everything!

I know reading calms me down, it gives me a time to be in my own world.  I don’t have to worry about anything and just think about what will happen to the Hand of the King, or even wonder how this author can help me even remotely of how I can handle certain situations.

Sure, there are shows and movies based off of books, but they are different.  I’ve been reading “A Song of Ice and Fire” series by George R.R. Martin, and I know there’s a series on HBO for it, “The Game of Thrones.”

I love the show as much as I love the book.  Actually, the show is what got me into reading the book, and so far I love both the book and the show equally! The book has more thoughts and backstory to the characters than the show, but the show was the trigger which got me into reading this amazing series!  You don’t have to read the book first, but having the trigger really helps you get into reading.  Find the motivation for reading or else you won’t enjoy it.

The study also showed us that Washington, D.C. is the most literate city for the third year in a row, and I’m not saying that we should make our way up to being the most literate city, but at least we can all try by reading more and get away from being listed as the most illiterate city in the United States.

If you can’t read and want to read, there is a board of Kern Adult Literacy Council who provides one-on-one tutors for those who want to learn to read at no charge!  Though I doubt you can read about it on this article, if you can’t read, thus those who can read should help and tell those who can’t read about this opportunity.