As silly as it might sound, I find that reading the works of great authors of fiction is at least as difficult as, if not harder, than writing, but necessary in order to write fiction well. By reading, I refer to considering the author's choices in everything - from images to words to sentence structure - in addition to taking in the words printed on the page. By great authors of fiction, I refer to people such as Faulkner, Fitzgerald, or Hemmingway. However, I've recently discovered it's extremely difficult to "get much" out of the writing of these authors. Even in a discussion group with around ten other students and a teacher every class, I notice it's very hard. Take The Great Gatsby for example. I was nearly certain that Fitzgerald consciously chose to put in his descriptions of The Sound, the moonlight, T.J. Eckleburg and other things, but I could not find any solid relationships of those descriptions with other things mentioned. For example, one of the descriptions I remember very well was the eyes of T.J. Eckleburg being blue and peering from behind yellow spectacles. The eyes were on a billboard outside a man named Wilson's house. Later, Gatsby and his girlfriend, driving a yellow car, happen to run over Wilson's wife. There's a misunderstanding and Wilson thinks another man, Tom, who drives a blue car, ran her over. Unless I'm crazy, there would seem to be something fishy about the blue and yellow... (I've seem some really "subtle" things, such from another discussion group where we found that Faulkner went as far as to suggest his main characters were like monkeys by having them eat bananas in context with the rest of the book...which is why I'd think there's something suspicious about blue and yellow) The problem is that the discussions don't seem to get anywhere deeper than character development and I'm not sure if it's just I'm not seeing something obvious, or is there a more effective way to read? And I'm also curious how other people go about reading this type of fiction (I believe it is called "literary fiction"). Although this may seem like a reading question instead of a writing question, I feel that developing good reading skills is a direct factor in improving writing skills, but if you are a moderator and would like to delete this thread, feel free to.