From the Radcliffe list (below), some of the first sentences. After that, some greats that didn't make their list. Ford Madox Ford -- more people need to read his work.
In Cold Blood, Truman Capote:
The village of Holcomb stands on the high wheat plains of western Kansas, a lonesome area that other Kansans call "out there."
Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie:
I was born in the city of Bombay... once upon a time.
White Noise, by Don Delillo:
The station wagon's arrived at noon, a long shining line that coursed through the west campus.
Death Comes for the Archbishop, by Willa Cather:
One afternoon in the autumn of 1851 a solitary horseman, followed by a pack-mule, was pushing through an arid stretch of country somewhere in central New Mexico.
The Maltese Falcon, by Dashiell Hammett:
Samuel Spade's jaw was long and bony, his chin a jutting v under the more flexible v of his mouth.
Gone With the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell:
Scarlett O'Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm as the Tarleton twins were.
The Color Purple, by Alice Walker:
I am fourteen years old.
Ulysses, by James Joyce:
Stately, plump Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed.
Lord of the Flies, by William Golding:
The boy with fair hair lowered himself down the last few feet of rock and began to pick his way toward the lagoon.
All the King's Men, by Robert Penn Warren:
To get there you follow Highway 58, going northeast out of the city, and it is a good highway and new.
The World According to Garp, by John Irving:
Garp's mother, Jenny Fields, was arrested in Boston in 1942 for wounding a man in a movie theater.
Rebecca, by Daphne DuMaurier:
Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.
The Beautiful and the Damned, by F. Scott Fitzgerald:
In 1913, when Anthony Patch was twenty-five, two years were already gone since irony, the Holy Ghost of this later day, had, theoretically at least, descended upon him.
The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame:
The Mole had been working very hard all the morning, spring-cleaning his little home.
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum:
Dorothy lived in the midst of the great Kansas prairies, with Uncle Henry, who was a farmer, and Aunt Em, who was the farmer's wife.
Why aren't these on the Radcliffe List?
The Good Soldier, by Ford Madox Ford:
This is the saddest story I have ever heard.
Lonesome Dove, by Larry McMurtry:
When Augustus came out on the porch the blue pigs were eating a rattlesnake -- not a very big one.
A Prayer for Owen Meany, by John Irving:
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.
Cold Mountain, by Richard Frazier:
At the first gesture of morning, flies began stirring.
A Wrinkle in Time, by Mag L'Engle:
It was a dark and stormy night.
Double Indemnity, by James M. Cain:
I drove out to Glendale to put three new truck drivers on a brewery company bond, and then I remembered this renewal over in Hollywoodland.
The Screwtape Letters, by CS Lewis:
My dear Wormwood, I note what you say about guiding your patient's reading and taking care that he sees a good deal of his materialist friend.