"If you look really closely at things, you'll forget you are going to die."
Consider these opening lines (the first four from novels, the rest from memoirs):
Call me Ishmael. (Moby Dick, Herman Melville): Why, "Call me Ishmael?" Why not, "My name is Ishmael?" There's mystery in that line.
It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. (1984, George Orwell): Thirteen? The reader already knows that something is askew. Mystery.
Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. (Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov): Wow! That poetic first sentence begs for another.
All happy families are alike but an unhappy family is unhappy after its own fashion. (Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy): Very portentous, full of promise and drama.
But that’s not where the story of my midlife crisis begins. (The Madwoman in the Volvo, Sandra Loh): Mysterious. Where does the story begin if not in the opening line? (I've chosen from the first chapter, not the introduction)
The night before my husband’s cancer surgery, I stay up to watch him sleep. (Wondering Who You Are, Sonya Lea): Introduces a dramatic core issue. Tells the reader something important about the couple’s relationship.