Unfortunately, there are a lot of them. I believe the number officially stands at "a shitload". Meaning, its rather difficult to know where to start.
I'm not so much interested in specific plot threads at this point, looking for a more general overview. Are there specific titles I should start with, or at least authors that cover the universe in a wider sense, to get the general trend of things that have happened? I'll delve into more specific stuff later, when I've got a better idea how things are going than reading the stuff at starwars.com can give me. Basically, a story about a specific mission and the troubles along the way... not what I'm looking for. But a story that covers an especially critical time, such as the whole thing with Thrawn, that affects the story on a galactic scale, thats the sort of thing I'm looking for to get started.