Want an enjoyable read on what life was like in the world of the New Testament? If so, I gladly commend to you James Jeffers book The Greco-Roman World Of The New Testament Era. In chapter 1 he masterfully pulls you into this world by inviting you to be a dinner guest in the home of a prominent 1st century Jew. He then plunges into by an easy to understand survey of the history which led up to the development of the Roman Empire as it was known in the New Testament era.
From there he takes you with him as he explores the many facets of 1st century life. Topics like government, slavery, family lifestyles, religion, social classes and more gives the reader a keen insight into what it must have been like to be a Christian living in the multi-layered culture which was the Roman Empire.
While his treatments of the different areas are by no means exhaustive, this text is a great start for those just beginning to study New Testament backgrounds. Included at the end of each chapter is a list of other books which dive into the respective areas more specifically. In this way, it is also a great book for beginning your collection on New Testament background materials.
One final thing I really appreciated about the book was that even though his primary aim was to explore Roman and Hellenistic background material, he also weaves in important issues on 1st century Jewish culture which, subsequently, is very helpful in understanding the Christian culture of that time as well.
So again, if you are serious about understanding the New Testament in its historical-cultural context, I think this book would serve as a great starting point.