I fell in love with Charles Dickens in ninth grade. After our class read the abridged version of Great Expectations, I immediately went looking for the unabridged version, and the rest is history.
My favorite novel is A Tale of Two Cities, and my favorite Dickens character is (you guessed it) Sydney Carton. And I haven't managed to find Dickens's house yet, in three trips to England, but I WILL find it someday!
One more thing. Dickens was most assuredly not "paid by the word." Anyone who repeats that wicked slander on these premises will be "be drawn on a hurdle to be half hanged, and then he'll be taken down and sliced before his own face, and then his inside will be taken out and burnt while he looks on, and then his head will be chopped off, and he'll be cut into quarters." (A Tale of Two Cities) Or at the very least, he will be vehemently shouted down.