The To-Do List

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The To-do List By Mike Gayle, book reviewI’ve read quite a few of Mike Gayle’s novels and have always enjoyed his ‘lad lit’ style of writing and his easy going styles. I had recently bought his book The To-Do List thinking that it would be similar to his other books but in actual fact it is quite different. The reason why I say this is because this book is not fiction but relates events that took place during his thirty seventh year as he attempted to complete his very very long to-do list that he had been putting off for years! The idea behind the book reminded me very much of some of Dave Gorman’s or Danny Wallace’s books where they also have set themselves seemingly unachievable madcap challenges. Despite my initial disappointment that this was not another of Mike Gayle’s wonderful novels, I did really enjoy reading it.

It seems that Mike Gayle is one of those not uncommon people who seems to have procrastinated for most of his adult life. He has often had high aspirations that have come to nothing as he has failed to complete one task or another. In his attempt to behave in a more adult way, having just turned thirty six, he assesses all these things and writes his to–do list that eventually totals 1,277 different actions. Some are quite easily attainable but others are more time consuming and also costly. There are all sorts of things on the list ranging from reading War and Peace, removing the gunk in the U bend and resetting the clock on the DVD player. And he only has a year to complete everything on the list whilst being kept a close eye on and audited by his mates in the Sunday Night Pub Club!

The To-Do List takes on a diary format with the recounting of events being spread over the course of the year. There is a lovely conversational tone to the book and this helps you feel that you get to know the writer as you read through it. At times it is funny whereas at other times more serious. And sometimes real life – such as becoming a father for the second time – gets in the way! Also it does not help when disaster strikes and the list actually goes missing for a while. The entire retelling is told with a warmth and a humour that makes it very real and very readable.

I found that this book also made me think. Many of the items on the to-do list are things that could easily be on mine – catch up with old friends, watch certain DVDs, Read War and Peace (well maybe not!) and there are so many things that need fixing and sorting in my house that I keep putting off. This book makes you think about composing your own to-do list and maybe even to start acting on some of the entries. It definitely made me realise that I am also very good at putting off things and that I would love to rectify this. I think that I will soon be making my own list and then I shall see what happens!

Overall The To-Do List is a very enjoyable book not only for Mike Gayle fans but also for anyone who puts of things in their lives. This might just be what they need to stop procrastinating!

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To-Do List, The
by Mike Gayle

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Written by kingfisher

My name is Jo and I have been married to Simon for nine years. We have two beautiful daughters – Rachel who is six and Natalie who is almost five and starting school in January. I also have two step children aged twenty one and seventeen so family life is never dull. I also manage to work three days for a local education authority where I support the teaching of literacy in primary schools. I love my job and it’s ideal for a book lover like me. In my spare time I run, dance and occasionally tread the boards with my local amateur dramatics group. My first love is reading though and you will never find me without a book on the go. My husband is also an avid reader and we are hoping to pass on our love of reading to our daughters. They certainly love their bedtime stories every night. Although I have and English degree and I am familiar with most of the classics, I generally read much lighter stuff these days. It’s mainly ‘chic lit’ but I also enjoy a good thriller or courtroom drama. I have so many favourite authors and this list tends to change regularly depending on what I am reading.

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