<p>Fall reads. </p>
Whether you love a thriller or autobiographies, we've got something for everyone to add to their fall reading list.
For the music fan
In this tell-almost-all memoir, Brian Wilson candidly reflects on his struggles with family, substance abuse and mental illness and digs deep into the inspiration and meaning behind his music. It's a must-read for any fan of The Beach Boys—or the '60s pop scene, in general—with big-name music icons of the era (Phil Spector, Carole King, Paul McCartney) featuring in many of the stories. — Jes Watson
I Am Brian Wilson (Random House Canada) by Brian Wilson with Ben Greenman, $34.
For the thespian
Margaret Atwood revisits William Shakespeare's The Tempest in a new novel about Felix Phillips, a man who is wrongfully fired from his job as artistic director of the Makeshiweg Theatre Festival. He becomes the drama teacher at a nearby prison and, when an opportunity for theatrical revenge arises, launches a trick-filled production of The Tempest for his former coworkers. Even if you've never enjoyed Shakespeare, you'll love this hilarious—and sometimes tragic—retelling of his final play. — Andrea Karr
Hag-Seed (Knopf Canada) by Margaret Atwood, $30.
For the history buff
From one of the most successful authors of all time, Danielle Steel, comes a new work of fiction about Gaëlle, a French teenager who endures unspeakable loss during the Second World War, which inspires her to join the French Resistance. She spends years rescuing Jewish children and trying to protect France's artistic heritage, only to be wrongly accused of collaboration at the end of the war—until many years later, when her granddaughter fights to have Gaëlle's heroism recognized. — AK
The Award (Delacorte Press) by Danielle Steel, $37.
For the crime lover
In John Grisham's latest legal thriller (his 29th!), Florida judge Claudia McDover comes under the scrutiny of the Florida Board of Judicial Conduct when a secretive whistleblower claims McDover is corrupt. The accusation?
The judge has spent years under the thumb of Florida's "Coast Mafia," which skims money off the top of a casino on aboriginal land (in addition to hundreds of other sometimes-violent crimes), then pays her a hefty fee to ensure that any legal disputes are quickly silenced. A slow and steady read, this novel offers a fascinating look at the inner workings of an elaborate crime ring and all the layers of corruption and deceit that run through each level of business, local leadership, law enforcement and the justice system. — AK
The Whistler (Doubleday) by John Grisham, $37.
For the suspense addict
Based on the 2015 hit novel, the film adaptation of The Girl on the Train lands in theatres on Oct. 7 with Emily Blunt in the lead role of Rachel Watson, an alcoholic divorcée whose husband left her for another woman. Rachel rides the train every day, passing by the house of her husband and his new family, as well as an attractive couple a few doors down—until one day, something terrible happens. — AK
The Girl on the Train (Anchor Canada) by Paula Hawkins, $22.
Between 3 and 8% of women have PMDD, a severe form of PMS with depression-like symptoms.
"For the three days leading up to my period, I was suicidal, anxious and irritable. I'd have fits of rage; I felt unglued. Then, I'd get my period and I'd be fine," says Jennifer, who asked us not to use her last name. Her psychotherapist suggested PMDD two years ago as a possible cause for her mood swings.
PMDD is like PMS's bigger, badder sister. It's another way of saying very severe PMS, says Dr. Samantha Saffy, a psychiatrist in Vancouver. In order to get a PMDD diagnosis, you need to experience the disorder's depression-like symptoms—mood swings, irritability, anger, feelings of hopelessness, anxiety, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, insomnia and a decreased interest in usual activities—more months than not. They should occur in the week leading up to menses, then improve after your period starts.
It can be difficult to get a diagnosis. Jennifer had been to three physicians with no luck. But just knowing PMDD exists might be helpful. "Often, being aware of your condition through education can help ease symptoms," says Dr. Tanya Tulipan, a psychiatrist specializing in reproductive mental health in Halifax. "If you know that certain days of the month will be more challenging for you, you can plan around them to minimize stress. Healthy habits such as getting adequate sleep, exercising regularly and eating healthily are known to ease symptoms, too." Cognitive behavioural therapy and mindfulness can also help, but "if none of these strategies works, your family doctor can suggest an antidepressant that you can take continuously or even just for the week that you have your symptoms," says Dr. Tulipan.
Go on, have another slice of pumpkin pie.
There are few things better than a great big Thanksgiving feast shared with family and friends. If you choose your outfit wisely, you're free to indulge without worrying about rigid waistbands or fitted dresses holding you back.
We've got outfit ideas that will keep you comfy and stylish, no matter how you celebrate this totally indulgent holiday.
A cozy Thanksgiving with your immediate family
Not all families have large gatherings around the holidays. Maybe you're cooking a turkey breast (or tofurky) instead of the whole bird, or maybe there's no dinner at all and you'll spend the evening watching movies on the couch. If you're planning something small with just your partner, or your parents, or your kids, keep your outfit simple. We love the idea of an oversized shirt dress (bonus points for season-appropriate tartan), topped with a maxi cardigan. Flat, menswear-inspired shoes and sparkly socks keep this look from being too casual—you still want to look nice, after all.
Thanksgiving at the cottage
Whether you're going with only a few people, or your entire family, Thanksgiving at the cottage has something going for it other than the scenery—the very casual dress code. We recommend a stretchy, long-sleeve top paired with boyfriend jeans (the baggier, the better) and a roomy turtleneck sweater (the one shown below is actually a vest). Finish off the look with simple (waterproof) boots, just in case you decide to walk off that second serving of mashed potatoes after dinner.
The big family affair
If you're attending a fam jam with all of your relatives, you need to look on point—especially if someone in the group is an amateur photographer. There will be pictures. And you will be tagged on Facebook. We recommend opting for roomy trousers (a drawstring helps) in a stylish fabric like velvet, which also happens to be extremely comfortable. Pair with a long, roomy sweater in a flattering colour (this eggplant works with all skin tones) and sparkly accessories. For shoes, try a comfortable ankle boot with a trendy western-inspired twist.
If you're having a friends-only Thanksgiving event, we recommend playing with texture for added interest in your oversized ensemble. Keep it comfy with an A-line blouse (the one shown is in classic denim) and faux-leather leggings, which are both fancy and comfortable. Top it off with your favourite blanket scarf or poncho and some cool boots. This outfit will keep you covered, whether you indulge in drinks, turkey or cake—or all of the above.
Our experts answer reader questions about dropping the last 10 pounds—or more.
Question: I've heard that lifting weights helps the body burn calories even when you're not active. True or false? — Reiko
Answer: That's true. A lot of women prioritize cardio because they want to lose fat, but that burns calories only while you're exercising; as soon as you stop, you're no longer burning as much. Instead, lifting weights revs up your metabolism, so you'll continue burning calories for a few hours after your workout. And don't worry about bulking up; women don't have enough testosterone for that. But you will get leaner!
— Trudie German, certified personal trainer and owner of bodyenvy.ca, Toronto
Question: Is it possible I'm meant to be this big? I've been about the same size all my adult life, give or take a dress size. My mom and my sister are both size 14, and so were my grandmas. Maybe it's genetics? — Anne
Answer: Your genes do play a role, but it's more important to remember that size isn't really a good measure of health. If you're active, feeling good and sleeping and eating well, you probably don't have to worry. According to the World Health Organization, obesity is defined as "abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that may impair health." Of course, as you get heavier, there's a greater likelihood your health could be negatively impacted. But it's impossible for me to tell just by having you step on a scale; I have to do all sorts of tests to see if your weight really is affecting your health.
— Dr. Arya Sharma, founder of the Canadian Obesity Network and professor at the University of Alberta
Question: I'm injured and I can't work out. Is it still possible to lose weight? (Even if I'm eating my feelings about not being able to exercise?) — Katie
Answer: It's certainly possible! In fact, what you eat has more of an impact on your weight than exercise. You won't be able to work off extra calories, so be particularly mindful of other factors that influence weight, too, by getting enough sleep, finding ways to manage stress and choosing healthy whole foods in appropriate portions. And try these tricks: Serve vegetables family-style so they're within easy reach, but keep richer foods on the stovetop; use a smaller plate; and focus on your food—you're more likely to overindulge if you're distracted, so try not to eat in front of the TV, in the car or at your desk at work. Lastly, don't deny your hunger; eventually, it will backfire and you'll find yourself overeating or grabbing a convenient but unhealthy snack. People often think they have to cut back on food if they're going to lose weight, but I counsel my clients to eat more during the day. The idea isn't to willpower your way to weight loss; it's to make sustainable changes.
— Casey Berglund, registered dietitian and owner of worthyandwell.com, Calgary