Today is the 146th anniversary of Charles Dickens's death. (Please see my Twitter feed for several informative articles about him, written by others especially for the occasion.)
On the subject of Charles Dickens, I highly recommend Claire Tomalin's Charles Dickens: A Life. This is a thorough, but highly readable biography of one of the greatest authors in the English canon.
Some of Dickens's novels are long slogs by today's standards (i.e. Barnaby Rudge); but his better books (A Tale of Two Cities, David Copperfield) are as entertaining today as they were in the 19th century.