cgreen, I hear you. I can totally relate.
But! It is possible to absorb mountains of meaning if you just let go and let the text do its work; let the text feed you. Let it feed you just beyond your gut expansion. (I learned this from one unforgettable year spent in the bowels of Hell with my first love, French.)
A lot depends on the density of the text. Personally, I choose texts that are easy enough to tread without getting blisters. If there are too many stones along the path, I’m going to spend a lot of time tripping and getting wounded. So, I won’t go there. For example, I’m not going to read Cien años de soledad de Marquez this year. A better, more manageable choice will be La Travesia de Enrique. If there are a few pebbles strewn about here and there, I’m going to step on them and keep on going without worrying if I got it right. To stop and get it right is to interrupt the flow of ‘passive vocabulary’. You do know, so trust what you know. It is not just about reading books in a different language or languages. It has much to do with choosing the appropriate text that challenges you without going completely over your head.
You can always jot down words that don’t reveal their meaning and look them up later. We look up words all the time at LingQ, so no biggie, just grab your online dictionary and weed out what you need to weed out. Conversely, just stop trying to hone it in; stop trying to be perfect. While reading, don’t skip a word and make sense out of what you do understand! In my experience, it all shows up again, and you do get it at least the third time around. The bigger picture is at stake; a bird’s eye view, so to speak, is what matters.
I don’t care about being perfect and trying to absorb 100%—it’s a ridiculous concept when it comes to learning. We are in the midst of learning! I’m a bibliophile and so I extend myself to read in all the languages that I’m studying and have a sufficient vocabulary base. Frankly speaking, if you spend time on LingQ reading and studying numerous collections, why can’t you do the same with a collection of text, which by any other name would be deemed a book?
Everyday I am inspired by my LingQ & Goodreads Friends who read in multiple languages, namely, Peter, Berta, and Reinhard. It’s just normal, everyday business really. Just go for it