I want to thank everyone who posted or e-mailed suggestion for my reading pleasure. They have been filed for a rainy day.
But I felt I needed to get tough with myself. I went back to my TBR stack, determined to make something work. Damn it, I paid good money for these books.
After much soul-searching, looking at chicken bones and tea leaves, and just generally telling myself to "dive in already," I settled on Old Man's War by John Scalzi. I'm about 50 pages in and feel totally justified by my choice. Holding my attention nicely. I'll report back when I finish.