Last week we unveiled our shiny new PubFight All-Star League, as well as our first competitor, Richard Nadeau of Donkey in the Fog Editions. Now we're about to see who he's up against!
In one corner, we have Bryant Harte of Last Word Press.
He interviewed the one and only George RR Martin and loved every minute of it. (Yet he let his competition get away with Fire and Blood...) His favourite bookstore is Foyles in London, but he has yet to visit their new bigger and shinier location. And he's a five-time PubFight league champion, but he's only won one overall championship. Let's see what he has to say about this...
"My lack of overall trophies can be excused due to my participation in large, competitive leagues; my one victory coming in a particularly weak competitive year. Does this mean that my opponents in the All-Star Championship are used to sub-par opponents? Only time will tell..."
Indeed it will, Bryant. How do you think the auction went?
"There were some awfully low bids for some solid titles on this list – Richard, you managed to steal both the Fantastic Beasts and Rick Mercer. If only there was someone who had a whole lot of cash left on hand that could have outbid you..."
You're sounding confident, and this is only week one of the competition. Tell me about your list.
"I am happy with my haul, though with three titles releasing in December, I know that I will get some flack during the competition – but you better have a big enough lead on me already, otherwise it's going to be a rough Christmas."
It's definitely too early to predict the winner, most titles haven't been published yet, but the smack talk is already in full swing.
"Hope everyone gets their commentary out in the first couple of months, as I plan on having the last word."
Oh, we see what you did there.
Last Word Press is not going down without a fight. But neither is Bookstore Baby Publishing, run by All-Star Sian Bumsted.
Sian has copies of her favourite books stashed at home in Toronto, at her parents' house in Winnipeg, and at her husband's family's place in rural Pennsylvania. Her parents also own the Whodunit Mystery Bookstore, which is moving to an even bigger and better location this fall. And Sian's parents aren't the only book-lovers cheering her on throughout this competition. She also has a 15-month-old daughter named Penelope whose favourite book is Maisy Goes to the Local Bookstore. How fitting.
In the great Venn diagram of books ever published, the only books Sian and her husband have both read are those on the required reading list of the Foundation Year Program at the University of King's College. And this is from someone who can polish off 5-10 books a week (thanks to Toronto's lovely commute times). Sian has proved herself to be a strong adversary in the competition.
Tell us about your PubFight journey so far.
"When I look back on the results from the previous five years that I played, I see that we only had Guinness World Records for three years, and Grisham for two (he didn't have a book in the fall in those other years). In 2009, the person who had Guinness lost to the person who had the Diana Gabaldon. In 2010, there was no Guinness, but the winner had Grisham, as well as Keith Richards and Jonathan Franzen. In 2011, the person who had Guinness lost to the person (me) who had Christopher Paolini's Inheritance– a $27.99 hardcover, thank you Random House. And in 2015, the winner had both Guinness AND Grisham.
So, I guess what you're trying to say is that it's really anybody's game. It's all about what's popular in a given year.
"In 2008, we opted to give someone who couldn't come to the auction Twilight for $155,000 and what we perceived as the nine other worst titles. She destroyed us anyway."
I can't wait to find out what the title to beat this year is – there are lots of good ones on the list. You got away with the 13th Diary of a Wimpy Kid book AND Liane Moriarty's Nine Perfect Strangers.
"Looking forward to this!"
Well, there you have it, folks. The data is officially live, and so is the competition banter. Stay tuned to find out what happens next and meet our final competitors in the All-Star Championship League. It's going to be a competition for the ages, the PubFight to end all PubFights, the ultimate battle for ultimate bragging rights!
And someone might even go home with a super cool trophy – still haven't decided.