I just read Ursula K. Le Guin's The Left Hand of Darkness and was, as ever, knocked out by her layered sensitivity to the human character and the endless depth of detail in the worlds she creates. Yet I noticed once again an element missing from her work: humor. This is not to say that every novel I read must make me laugh, only that I am aware of the seriousness, the earnestness of Le Guin's writing.
This struck me, I imagine, because I've been disturbed by a dichotomy in my own writing. I can either write funny fiction or I can write historical fiction. For all my background in history and love of research, I can't lighten up much when I'm re-creating a historical world. But when I'm not burdened with that task and am writing about a contemporary setting, I can let loose with some attitude and raise a chuckle.
Eventually I need to figure out how to combine these skills.