Writing Excuses is a great writing podcast, hosted by writers Brandon Sanderson, Dan Wells, and Howard Tayler. They interviewed Patrick Rothfuss a couple years ago, and talked about Exposition.
Exposition is the part of a book that sets the stage for the drama to follow: it introduces the theme, setting, characters, and circumstances at the story’s beginnings. (about.com)
It’s great advice on how not to bore your readers out of their minds, which most would agree is a worthy goal. You can recognize it when it’s done wrong (“As you know, Bob, two weeks ago the Orckin, a race of green monsters, swarmed down from their mountain homeland to attack King Jethro’s Fairland, and the only hope looks like this ancient prophecy concerning one ‘Bobe of the Greene Togae’, of whom nothing is known.”), but can you do it right?
(Rule #2: Parenthetical examples should not be longer than the original sentence. 🙂 )
Tidbits: Your readers care about your characters more than your setting. They’re the paint on the setting’s canvas. Let the setting come through the characters, but make it about the character! Give them a strong opinion on what’s going on, contrast them with a different opinion. Your readers don’t have to know the ‘truth’ right up-front, just show them the conflict.