Wouter - we've seen heart trees before, but I highly doubt they'll ever deeply explore any of it (old gods or the new). Very similar to how they mention maester's chains but never what it really represents to the maester. To the non-reader, it doesn't mean much of anything. I think the religions are different enough and don't really have much analogy to current religions that they would have been worth exploring in season 1, but now that we're in season 3 and it doesn't get discussed except for some created scenes between Melisandre and Thoros, I don't think we're going to get much of anything that will be very satisfying.
Buckwheat - I agree. TV Shae seems extremely devoted to Sansa's wellbeing, which is something I didn't quite get from her in the books.
I get really sleepy whenever I read a Bran or Dany chapter (Dany's in DwD especially!). I just feel like other storylines (Arya, Jon, Sansa) have much more going on. Even when Sansa was stuck in King's Landing I was always interested in reading what was going on with her.
I liked Brienne's chapters; she's a character I can empathize with and I think GRRM did a good job depicting her point-of-view.
I don't care for Cersei's character, but her chapters always have some sort of crazy going on that made for exciting reading.
There are a lot of visions/scenes that we see in Dany's chapter when she enters the House of Undying. She mostly focuses on the "three betrayals", but I think there are a lot of other allusions and foreshadowing that occur here. It just seems too important to write off as just some magical fluff put there for world flavoring; I think this scene (and the
The Last Unicorn - Peter S. Beagle
I thought this was a beautiful story with a most bittersweet ending. I think the animated film from the 80s is fairly close, but I think the book is darker in tone. Currently Beagle is in some sort of legal tussle with the film's distribution company over not getting what he's owed.
The Mote in God's Eye - Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
I was recommended this by a colleague. It's a very interesting narrative on alien first contact, and is also considered "hard" science fiction in that there is a lot of discussion of how interstellar space travel might actually work. There are some slow parts in it but I think it's well worth it. The two people I recommended read this both enjoyed it thoroughly.
The Gripping Hand - Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
The sequel to Mote; it's interesting what happens 20 years later. There are a few returning characters, not necessarily the ones you would expect. I thought this one started off slow and then got better about halfway through.
Her Smoke Rose Up Forever - James Tiptree, Jr.
A collection of short stories; one of Tiptree's major themes was on gender roles and male/female relations. I highly recommend "The Women Men Don't See" and "Houston, Houston, Do You Read?" (You can read "The Women Men Don't See" at this link here)
I Am Legend - Richard Matheson
Ends a lot differently than the film, and much more realistically also. Set in Los Angeles as opposed to New York City. The paperback I had also included a handful of Matheson's short stories which were also delightful to read.