I discovered the following:
Of the 17 books...
1 forced me to read the rest of the paragraph.
3 were good, but I did manage to put the book back on the shelf.
2 were so long that they ran onto the next page.
7 described something (2 people, 5 weather), often with lots and lots of fluffy adjectives.
4 (5 actually, if we count the one that ran onto the second page) were the beginning of a backstory-dump. (1 of these dumps was interesting.)
0 began with dialogue.
0 began with an immediately evident high-conflict (or moderate-conflict) situation. (Although Golden Compass and Execution did come out with it pretty quick.)
0 began with any sort of interaction between characters.
Am I the only one who likes to open with the latter? Or are these statistics inevitable and purely resultant of the fact that I found these book in the English section of a university bookstore?
I'd continue to ramble but I may be able to hash this out into a TWFT post for Sunday, so I'll stop now. :)