Sounds like you've really been on a kick to branch out lately.
Hey, man - you started it! Five years ago I was fine with my one-film Star Wars world. But no, you kept on me with all your - "it's been 30 years, you have to listen to the NPR version again - you need to give Splinter Of The Mind's Eye a look - you should check out Daley's Han Solo novels too".
And for that - I'm very grateful, sir. ;-)
All kidding aside, it was you, Gaffer, and Zombie (plus a few others) who leaned on me the most and it really put the hook in me. Once I opened the Pandora's Box of EU, there was no putting it back in. Next thing you know, NPR replaced the film and those first four novels are yearly reads. Splinter every summer, Han Solo Adventures every winter.
My Star Wars world is entirely different than it was pre-Board. It's much deeper now.
The vast universe is back - and getting vaster. <--- yeah, I know ;-)
On topic; I guess this new burst of branching out is really just because I finished Splinter, didn't want to wait until winter for my next Star Wars read, tested the post-1979 waters with Tales (at Zombie's behest), and am digging it so much that I want to go deeper. I'll just start the Zahn novels in order, when I'm done with my current read.
I'd say give Heir to the Empire a chance, if you don't mind reading a story where you have to take the events of Empire and Jedi into account, it can't hurt.
I'm fine with those being referenced. I just don't have any interest in reading novels about them. To an extent, I'm fine with the prequels being name-checked on occasion, but I have zero interest in anything that takes place during that time frame.
Power up those shields, Princess.