To my mind, meaning in art is a conversation. The reader and their larger culture, and the author's larger culture bring symbol systems to the book that the author may or may not have been aware of but that nonetheless are triggered by the words in the book.
Part of the enjoyment of life for me is exploring the web of symbols woven by our collection of communicating consciousnesses. Just as I love to talk about a work of art with my friends, I love to read what academics have to say about it as well. I don't have to agree with all or any of them, I just like to hear the ways in which they are similar or different from me and to share the insights we haven't managed to put into words yet.
In many ways I think others can have a lot more interesting things to say about a work of art than the artist themselves. The artist has hopefully said it their best In The Art. The artist throws the stone in the water, I like to watch the ripples.