Weeks into the stay-at-home order that will likely be extended, many Michiganders are looking for a routine distraction each day, whether that means taking a brisk walk, binge-watching a popular documentary, or curling up with a hot beverage and a good book.

For years I’ve been saying I could never join a book club because I’m too old for anyone else to tell me what to read. But I had a change of heart a few months ago when a friend asked me to join a laid-back one that meets once a month at a local restaurant. There, each person in the small group had a cocktail and an appetizer with some light discussion about the latest title and other topics.

It was such a cold night that I remember thinking I never would have left the house if I didn’t have to and now I’m so glad I did, given the fact that gathering at any venue would not be an option right now. Besides, I really enjoyed the first selection I read; a novel by Colson Whitehead called “The Nickel Boys” (Doubleday, $24.95).

Before I even finished the next book, “Mrs. Everything” (Atria Books: an imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc., $28) by Jennifer Weiner, which was another great read, I already knew that our March meeting would be postponed indefinitely due to the current restrictions. So, I decided to keep the momentum going on my own as I continue to read other titles that have been recommended to me like the heartbreaking novel by my bedside, “A Woman is No Man” (Harper Perennial; $16.99) by Etaf Rum.

Next up will be another recommendation from a friend: “Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, HER Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $28) by Lori Gottlieb that sounds like it will be just the distraction I need.

In the meantime, I have also been revisiting some of my coffee-table books, including a few written by design celebrities who visited the Metro Detroit area for public appearances when special events were a part of our lives. Looking back now, I remember watching them wow a crowd, which sounds like a bad word these days.

For instance, interior designer and TV personality Thom Filicia did a book signing and Q&A session at Scott Shuptrine in Royal Oak. His title “American Beauty: Renovating and Decorating a Beloved Retreat” (Clarkson Potter, $55) still transports me from the confines of my own home to another location. In the splendid setting of New York State, he details the transformation of his fixer-upper turned peaceful hideaway.

In “Live, Love & Decorate” (Rizzoli, $50) by designer-to-the-stars Martyn Lawrence Bullard, readers get a closer look at celebrity dwellings. Bullard, who once made an appearance at a local Art Van with other cast members from the Bravo show “Million Dollar Decorators,” is known for his bold approach to interiors.  

While I sometimes want to bury my head in the sand after reading the latest news, I bury my head in a good book instead to enter another world where there is no virus to be found.

Jeanine Matlow is a Metro Detroit interior decorator turned freelance writer specializing in stories about interior design. You can reach her at

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