I was scouring my local bookshop the other day and not really finding what I was looking for so I thought I would ask at the desk. "Excuse me, do you have any comic novels?" The look I got back from the shop assistant was akin to a herd of startled gazelle at the first sight of a cheetah. "The comics are over by the Children's section and the novels start over there," this last utterance was accompanied by a flourishing of her hand. "Where it says fiction." "No," I tried to explain, "I'm looking for funny novels." "Humor is in the middle isle." And there lies the problem. I wasn't looking for a humor book. I'm not particularly interested in reading the next installment of Board of the Rings (not so much a satire, rather a bloody waste of time) or a book of oh so funny cartoons about the difference between the sexes told with an adorable goat and chicken who are very much in love. I wanted a novel which has a good story and makes me laugh. After trying to explain this, as politely as possible I hasten to add, the assistant asked her college the same question. "Have you read any Terry Pratchett?" was his reply, which I thought meant that I was getting somewhere. "Yes. Yes, I have read all of the Pratchett books, but that's the sort of thing I'm after." "Oh. I'm afraid that's all we really have." Now, this blatantly isn't true as I had noticed some Robert Rankin and Tom Holt books as I was wondering around, so they are there. I am wondering, however, what has happened to our great traditions of writing humorous books? Especially in the UK, the comic novel was a staple of many stores for some time. They seam to have disappeared and there is a gaping wound between the serious literature of something like The Kite Runner and the overly absurd Barry Trotter and the badly conceived pun. This also leaves me wondering, where can I go to get humorous stories in book form? Are they out there? Have they just been misfiled or am I really left with reading Woodhouse yet again to satisfy my urges?