This will sound very uncharitable, and I write it not to demean a master storyteller (a title I believe Dickens richly deserves), but as a matter of honesty. Reading Dickens is like listening to a story told by a beloved eldest relative. You feel obligated to give your attention yet your sense of duty is not always strong enough to maintain your focus. Too often I read without understanding the words, my mind registering what words i’ve read but not having any recognition of those words’ significance. Sometimes I even forget the basics of the plot or setting, or which characters are involved in the current action. You know the story is important and you do come away with an appreciation for what has been said, but the memory of those long empty passages remains.