The opening paragraphs of my top ten favourite books, in no particular order.
To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee): "When he was nearly thirteen my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow. When it healed, and Jem's fears of never being able to play football were assuaged, he was seldom self-conscious about his injury. His left arm was somewhat shorter than his right; when he stood or walked, the back of his hand was at right-angles to his body, his thumb parallel to his thigh. He couldn't have cared less, so long as he could pass and punt."
The Chrysalids (John Wyndham): "When I was quite small I would sometimes dream of a city - which was strange because it began before I even knew what a city was. But this city, clustered on the curve of a big blue bay, would come into my mind. I could see the streets, and the buildings that lined them, the waterfront, even boats in the harbour; yet, waking, I had never seen the sea, or a boat..."
The Vampire Lestat (Anne Rice): "I am the vampire Lestat. I'm immortal. More or less. The light of the sun, the sustained heat of an intense fire - these things might destroy me. But then again, they might not."
Captain Corelli's Mandolin (Louis de Bernieres): "Dr Iannis had enjoyed a satisfactory day in which none of his patients had died or got any worse. He had attended a surprisingly easy calving, lanced one abscess, extracted a molar, dosed one lady of easy virtue with Salvarsan, performed an unpleasant but spectacularly fruitful enema, and had produced a miracle by a feat of medical prestidigitation."
Good Omens (Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman): "It was a nice day. All the days had been nice. There had been rather more than seven of them so far, and rain hadn't been invented yet. But clouds massing east of Eden suggested that the first thunderstorm was on its way, and it was going to be a big one."
The Lord of the Rings (Tolkien, duh): "When Mr Bilbo Baggins of Bag End announced that he would be celebrating his eleventy-first birthday with a party of special magnificence, there was much talk and excitement in Hobbiton."
Heavier Than Heaven: the biography of Kurt Cobain (Charles R. Cross): "The first time he saw heaven came exactly six hours and fifty-seven minutes after the very moment an entire generation fell in love with him. It was, remarkably, his first death, and only the earliest of many little deaths that would follow. For the generation smitten with him, it was an impassioned, powerful, and binding devotion - the kind of love that even as it begins you know is preordained to break your heart and to end like a Greek tragedy."
Coraline (Neil Gaiman): "Coraline discovered the door a little while after they moved into the house."
American Gods (Neil Gaiman): "Shadow had done three years in prison. He was big enough, and looked don't-fuck-with-me enough, that his biggest problem was killing time. So he kept himself in shape, and taught himself card tricks, and thought a lot about how much he loved his wife."
Night Watch (Terry Pratchett): "Sam Vimes sighed when he heard the scream, but he finished shaving before he did anything about it."