Meet Mary Schiedel

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If it’s the last Monday of the month, it’s book club day at Parkwood – a day when 12 eager readers gather to share their thoughts on the latest selection and enjoy a sense of community.

The members’ reading tastes range widely, from inspirational to entertaining, from thrillers to classics, from comedic to heart-breaking.

“We all read books we might not read otherwise,” says Mary Schiedel, who launched the club in 2009. “The book club has really liked Louise Penny. Some books are challenging, like the one we are reading now: My Secret Sister by Helen Edwards, a true life story. We also read The Ragged Company by Richard Wagamese. I found that very difficult. One book that stands out for me is My Grandfather’s Blessings by Rachel Naomi Remen. It invited more personal sharing. Of course, once you have that, it brings the group closer.”

“We are a disciplined group,” says Mary. “We stick to one hour. We rate the book from one to ten and we each take a turn to say whether we enjoyed the book or not.”

“At the beginning, the members sometimes bought the books and shared them. It went on that way for quite a while,” says Mary. “Now, Mary Ann Brubacher, a volunteer, is leading the book club and gets books from the Library. I really ap­preciate how she has kept us going, particularly because I’m a great reader.”

Meeting in person became challenging in 2020 and the club made a switch to virtual in January 2021. “We really needed help,” says Mary. “Laura Gorman, a staff member, helped us to figure out how to use Zoom. We have several women from the Garden Homes in the club. Laura ran outside in the cold weather to the homes to help some of the members get on the call. She has really helped us out.”

“The book club is one of the activities that keeps my mind active,” says Mary. “I think it helps to have discussions where we really challenge each other and have different views on what we have read. More importantly, I have met more of the people who live here at Parkwood Suites. It has been community building and is an import­ant social connection for me. I know we all look forward to getting together again in person!”