I am currently reading Exploring People of the New Testament and have thoroughly enjoying it and you may to. I do have a habit of not reading things in order. This book is the last part of a excellent series, called the "John Phillips Bible Characters Series", which includes 3 volumes of Exploring People of the Old Testament. I own these, but haven't yet read them.
The one I am currently reading contains 40 people from the New Testament, including well-known characters such as Mary, Peter, and John, and lesser-known characters such as Anna and Nathanael.
It is easy to read, very informative, provides relevant verses from the bible and gives a history of each of the characters. Each chapter is around 10 pages, so not long, but so informative and interesting.
I have just finished reading about the life of Nathanael which covers his relationship with Jesus, his friend Philip, but includes interesting things like the meaning of his name "Nathan" means gift and "El" is a name for God so Nathanael means "a gift of God". This is one paragraph from Nathanael:
"The fact that we cannot hide from God is a terrific truth or it is terrifying truth, depending on our relationship with Him. "I saw you," Jesus said, and Nathanael wondered what He had seen. Nathanael was to see even more clearly that his innermost thoughts were an open book to the One before whom he stood."
John Phillips has also written the "John Phillips Commentary Series", for individual Books from the bible (link). They aren't cheap, so I am gradually buying the 27 (I have 4 so far!) as they are such a great sort of information for anyone wanting a great understanding of the bible. He also uses the King James Version which I like.
And I know this isn't really important - but the books are all hard-covered and look great on the book shelf (is that a bit too shallow - sorry!)
Happy reading. . .