Blogger Brett Janes has posted a list of opening sentences from all of Dickens's novels and novellas, for the excellent reason that no one else had done it yet. And then he set up a poll! Go here to vote for your favorite.
Could part of The Lord of the Rings have been inspired by part of Our Mutual Friend? Blogger T. M. Doran at Novel Thoughts traces an interesting resemblance between the Lammles and the Sackville-Bagginses.