“Why those ones?” I asked.
“Because I’m going to tell them how old books are always exciting at the end, even though they start out really boring.”
And doesn’t that describe just about every classic you can remember?
According to Wikipedia, the idea of a narrative hook dates back to One Thousand and One Nights, but I think they forgot the concept for a few hundred years. Heidi begins with a description of the Alps. The Wizard of Oz introduces the aunt and uncle and the little house in Kansas. And The Borrowers has a horribly boring story frame with an old lady and knitting. Yeesh. Where are the dead bodies?
(Although… in the case of the Wizard of Oz, there is a dead witch in chapter two.)