At fjm's recommendation, I read Shards of Honor a couple of years ago. It gave me no incentive to keep reading the Vorkosigan series. Neither did reading excerpts from the companion volume, which I browsed last year as a Hugo-nominated non-fiction book. It was the cumulative recommendation of friends who were particular Bujold fans which led me to request Barrayar from the library. It has that same inner stillness, despite all the action, that Shards of Honor had, but with a much more coherent plot to hold it all together. It really is quite good, for quite a number of reasons, particularly its compelling doing-what-needs-to-be-done in a pragmatic way approach to resolution. I liked it enough that I recommended it to C., who has now also read it. He's not sure it passes the Bechdel test, however.
I'm always charmed that one of the libraries in Essex with good science fiction collection, and thus one from which my requested books sometimes come, is the Tiptree library.
The problem with being a completist about finishing books is that I rarely feel I can put my academic reading down on my list of books-I-have-read, unless I have really read the book entirely, all chapters, all appendices, and made good inroads on the notes and bibliography. Research-reading, excerpting chapters and relevant selections, is pratical and necessary - but doesn't come with that moment's satisfaction of feeling the book is really, truly Read.