I tend to like them short and sweet. Penguin Lives are great. Jay's reading the new Van Gogh biography, which runs to 900 pages. And although I resist the notion that anyone could be worth spending 900 pages on, this kind of detailed recounting of a life gives you an irreplaceable sense of the subject's life. I worked on a good biography of Jack Kerouac some time ago, and my favorite part was when he gets on a bus in California to come back east. He's packed himself a bunch of baloney sandwiches for the trip, and Neil Cassady wants one; but Kerouac's pissed at him and won't share.