I'm glad I'm not the only one who finds David Brin's style too meh.
And now, I'm reading a very interesting publication called The Complete Adventures of Adam Link, by Eando Binder (a fake name for two brothers.) They were published in the late 30's and early 40's, and they're robot stories that are important precursors to the Asimov robot stories. At least, that's what my SF Encyclopedia told me. So, I looked it up, and I'm reading it, and they're actually a lot of fun.
They're narrated by a robot very reminiscent of Data (or should I say that Data is very reminiscent of him?) There's even a trial in which Adam Link needs to defend himself and his humanity. Asimov himself claims to have been very influenced by these stories, and I can see that. If anyone is interested in pulpy comic-bookish early robot stories that are crude, sure, but strangely earnest and touching, then you should certainly look them up. The most surprising thing for me is how character-oriented the tales are. In various stories, Adam Link opens up a business, falls in love, becomes a detective, even tries his hand at sports. They're endearing in an early Golden Age kind of way, and they're not focused on action, but on everyday emotion. I quite like them, and I recommend them.
I found an Adam Link collection in 1980 when I was in the 6th grade and just adored it. These days I find all the old tech references (and inconsistencies) a little silly and quaint. But I know what you mean about the emotions.
And I still snicker at what "Eando" really means.
I keep starting Sundiver
and putting it down. But I had the same problem with Dune
and The Mote in God's Eye
--and ultimately I found both of them immensely rewarding. So I'm not prepared to give up on Brin yet.