2. 'Dickens,' by Fred Kaplan
Fred Kaplan's biography of Dickens is a solid piece of work that manages to speak to both general readers and those more advanced in their studies of Dickens. Kaplan takes readers on a thorough tour of Dickens' life and circumstances: his childhood brush with poverty; his unfortunate marriage; his meteoric success and vast social and professional network. Kaplan provides insight into the circumstances and life events that led Dickens to become one of the foremost literary names of all time.