Happy 200th Birthday Charles Dickens!!!!
Any man who combats male pattern baldness with side puffs like those and who wears a suit with what appears to be velvet lapels is aces in my book.
Oh, and also, he's ones of the best writers ever. I, like you, did not always think so. I read Great Expectations in the 9th grade and hated it, mostly because I could not get Miss Havisham and her ratty wedding feast out of my mind (although I was in my high school production of Oliver! in the 9th grade as well and that was plenty of fun - because I didn't have to read it. Plus, there was singing and dancing.) So when I got into the 10th grade and had to read A Tale of Two Cities I thought, nope, I will not be fooled again and I skipped it.
And that was the one high school shame that I took with me. I read every single book I was assigned - The Scarlett Letter, A Farewell to Arms, Hamlet, even Moby Dick - except not A Tale of Two Cities. I felt worse about that then I did about failing Geometry (fact: I do not feel bad at all about failing Geometry). But I refused to be guilted into reading any more of his books. And I managed to make it through college as an English major without having to read any Dickens. Moby Dick again, yes. Hamlet, three more times. But no Dickens.
But the shame was still there and then it came highly recommended by several trusted people and I must have been in a weakened state because a few years ago I read A Tale of Two Cities and fell in love. Dickens is now my literary boyfriend. He's clever and funny and sensitive to the plight of the downtrodden and has a keen eye for the ridiculous, just like you want a boyfriend to be.
I know you hate him. Nearly everyone I know who had to read him in high school hates him. But I think you'll like him now. So I'm just going to throw this out there - I think you should read some Dickens this year. If only to honor that glorious beard of his.