The first round of the Literary Bracket was far more one-sided than most of the early round match-ups. Only one of the games was competitive and the top seeds stormed easily into the second round:
#2 Mark Twain vs. #7 James Joyce
With his flowing white hair and bushy mustache, Mark Twain looks like a kindly old grandfather. But make no mistake, the man is competitive and knows how to go for the jugular. In his first round match up, Twain showed no mercy for the critically acclaimed, but lesser known, Joyce. When the dust cleared, Twain had shut out Joyce, dominating from start to finish in a 12-0 thrashing.
#4 Ernest Hemingway vs. #5 Charles Dickens
An intriguing match up between 19th century virtuoso Dickens and 20th century literary superstar Hemingway lived up to its hype. Neither author was able to gain much of an upperhand during the first half, with score tied 3-3 after the first period. The second half began similarly, but at the mid-way point, Dickens suddenly brought forth his third ghost, of Christmas Future, and the jarring effect of that intimidating figure threw Hemingway off his game just enough for Dickens to grab a 6-4 lead. He hung on to that slim margin the rest of the way to record a minor upset, 7-5.
#3 John Steinbeck vs. #6 Leo Tolstoy
Despite having a wicked beard, Leo Tolstoy seemed over matched against the younger (well, more recently deceased anyway) John Steinbeck. Steinbeck jumped out to an early 3-0 lead before Tolstoy scored his one, and only, point. In the second half it was all Steinbeck as Tolstoy seemed resigned to his fate, perhaps wondering what a century dead Russian novelist was doing playing basketball in the first place.
#1 William Shakespeare vs. #8 John Updike
Even nearly four centuries after his death, William Shakespeare is still the name in literature. A tall order for John Updike to tackle, the breadth, depth and longevity of Shakespeare, but the author of the Rabbit series showed some spunk out of the gate. Though Shakespeare jumped out to an early lead, he wasn't able to shake Updike in the first half, and the score at halftime was only 3-2. The second half was all Billy, however, as Bard of Avon clamped down defensively and began to hit with his outside jumper for a final score of 10 to 2.