I read a couple dozen books this year. This isn't an exhaustive list of my favorites, merely those with openers that stood out to me. Five Skies, Ron Carlson "It was a cold May in all of Idaho, and as the month began there were only a few short stacks of lumber and construction gear on the plateau above the remote river gorge, along with all the game trails and the manifold signs of rabbits who were native to the place and who now moved cautiously among the three men sleeping on the ground."
American Pastoral, Philip Roth "The Swede."
The Corrections, Jonathan Franzen "The madness of an autumn prairie cold front coming through."
Attempting Normal, Marc Maron "I had a bad run-in with myself on a plane recently."
The Marriage Plot, Jeffrey Eugenides "To start with, look at all the books."
Beautiful Ruins, Jess Walter "The dying actress arrived in his village the only way one could come directly — in a boat that motored into the cove, lurched past the rock jetty, and bumped against the end of the pier."
The Gone-Away World, Nick Harkaway "The lights went out in the Nameless Bar just after nine."
& Sons, David Gilbert "And there he sat, up front, all alone in the first pew."