This week's book giveaway is in the Testing forum. We're giving away four copies of The Way of the Web Tester: A Beginner's Guide to Automating Tests and have Jonathan Rasmusson on-line! See this thread for details.
What do you mean by "read"? If you mean create a byte, then GIFs are no different from other files - use FileInutStream. If you mean create an image you can display, then javax.imageio.ImageIO.read can do that.
If you meant something else, tell us more about what you're trying to do.