Era isn't hugely important, to be honest, at least not with regards to preparing for an EotE game: the first campaign I plan on running with EotE will be a follow up to my current, WEG storyline, and so characters and plots will simply carry over - no need to start from scratch. I do, however, have a sizable Star Wars novel itch that needs scratching…
Swift & Bold
Zahn trilogy of course, often credited as single-handedly reviving interest in the franchise in the 90s. It's one of the most perfectly-crafted trilogies to run around under the SW banner.
AC Crispin's Han Solo trilogy is also really good - I don't really reckon much to the first installment, but the final two books are tremendous, and definitely fit the theme of Edge of the Empire. Coming near the end of the Bantam run, too, they have the luxury of affording lots of continuity nods that I like
The New Rebellion is an often-overlooked wonder, I feel. And parts of the Black Fleet Crisis, I think it's the Leia-specific storyline that deals with the actual Yevethan crisis, is superb. Even if Leia is a little bit off-character, but then, pressures of office, etc.
I can't really think of any decent stuff Del Rey has put out in the eras following the classic trilogy. I mean, I like the NJO, LotJ etc, but I just can't say I'd recommend them. Del Rey seems better with the stuff before the classic trilogy. Cloak of Deception is a beautiful book, and up there in my top five. Labyrinth of Evil also. Basically, I feel James Luceno is like George Lucas' parent, always trying to explain young George's mistakes and flights of fancy. He does a magnificent job, but CoD isn't exactly your action-packed novel that most folks go for. The beauty lies in its subtlty. Same for LoE, really, though that does, lamentably, have Anakin as a major protagonist.
The comics can also be well worth investigating - someone mentioned the Empire run earlier in this thread, and Betrayal cannot be recommended enough! Awesomeness on paper, that one! A lot of the comics I like, though, are Clone Wars-era, so probably of the wrong sort for inspiring a fringe game in the galactic civil war. But pretty much anything involving Ostrander/Duursema and Quinlan Vos is definitely sure to please! Actually, on the subject of Ostrander, the recent Agent of the Empire looks like it could be amazing, though I've only read the first issue at the minute.
Which is a good point…excuse me while I finish that story…
I'll second the Darth Bane trilogy. Good stuff.
And add in Knight Errant - a pretty cool story on its own, set about a generation or two before the Bane Trilogy. Really neat take on what a Sith Empire would look like as it fractures up.
right now I am actually listening to the star wars radio dramas, its like listening to a 5 hour extended version of a new hope.
Zahn trilogy is a must… Brian Daley' Han Solo trilogy. Aaron Allston's X-Wing books usually make a good read. Deathtroopers for a change of pace…
100% agree, but would add the Stackpole X-wing books, and the Salvatore (where Chewie dies) book too. Didn't care for the Vong ordeal, but that Sal book, rocked.
As everyone said, the Zahn trilogy is awesome. He has been a favorite author of mine since as long as I've been reading books. I had a chance to talk with him recently about his upcoming scoundrels book. It's a heist story. He was originally going to call it Solo's 11 if that paints a picture for you. I think it will be a perfect setting for a campaign. I'm really looking forward to building a module based on it.
In Valor there is Hope