I bought a new book at Borders today, and then acquired a free one a couple hours later. First up, The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolano. Then The Autograph Man by Zadie Smith.
I had heard of The Savage Detectives a long time ago but had somehow gotten the impression that it was about a family in upstate New York solving crimes. (To pinpoint it, I believe I conflated the concept of detectives with the characters and setting of a 2007 Laura Linney movie called "The Savages.") In reality, it was written in Spanish and translated to English, and so far is narrated by a seventeen-year-old Chilean aspiring poet.
I can usually tell if I will like a novel by the end of the first or second sentence. This isn't ALWAYS true - I wasn't immediately grabbed by The Good German, for example, but ended up really enjoying it. However, the inverse does seem to be reliable: I have never fallen in love with an opening line but ended up hating the book. This is how I picked out The Savage Detectives. I happened to be sitting by it, opened it up, decided I liked what I read, and concluded that it would be a good book to own. Here's what enticed me to buy it:
"I've been cordially invited to join the visceral realists. I accepted, of course. There was no initiation ceremony. It was better that way."