I am a huge John Irving fan. A movie's opening scene, the start of a good joke, the story of how happily married people met... how the story opens means everything. How can you not glue your nose to the binding when a book opens with:
Garp's mother, Jenny Fields, was arrested in Boston in 1942 for wounding a man in a movie theatre. This was shortly after the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor and people were being tolerant of soldiers, because suddenly everyone was a soldier, but Jenny Fields was quite firm in her intolerance of the behavior of men in general and soldiers in particular.
-The World According to Garp
The summer my father bought the bear, none of us was born--we weren't even conceived: not Frank, the oldest; not Franny; the loudest; not me, the next; and not the youngest of us, Lilly and Egg.
-The Hotel New Hampshire
One night when she was four and sleeping in the bottom bunk of her bunk bed, Ruth Cole woke to the sound of lovemaking - it was coming from her parent's bedroom. It was a totally unfamiliar sound to her. Ruth had recently been ill with stomach flue; when she first heard her mother making love, Ruth thought her mother was throwing up.
-Widow for One Year
In the hospital of the orphanage-the boys' division at St. Cloud's, Maine - two nurses were in charge of naming new babies and checking that their little penises were healing from the obligatory circumcision.
-Cider House Rules
and my personal favorite opening to ANY book:
I am doomed to remember a boy with a wrecked voice--not because of his voice, or because he was the smallest person I ever knew, or even because he was the instrument of my mother's death, but because he is the reason I believe in God; I am a Christian because of Owen Meany.
-A Prayer for Owen Meany
...and that, my fellow blogheads, is why I have not the courage to start writing even a short story.