If this sounds like you, ask yourself these questions
1) Do you really need to understand that particular word or can you get the meaning without it?
As an English woman who has lived in Italy for over 12 years, I can now understand pretty much everything that I hear or read. But if someone points out an individual word I might not be able to give an exact definition of translation. But I have understood anyway. Let the meaning flow over you, don't get caught up in the details. It depends if you are reading to enjoy the novel, or as a vocabulary learning exercise, so
2) Are you a word nerd?
If you are a word nerd like me it can be a pleasure to go back and research new words later. It's a great way to improve your vocabulary, associate words in word families and think of the etymology, so
3) Does the word look like another word that you know, even in your own language?
Before reaching for the dictionary, do a bit of investigative work. Does the word or any part of it look like a word in your own language? English is a mish-mash of different languages, so for speakers of Latin origine languages it is often possible to break down the words into parts an use your imagination and logic to fill the gaps? So you don't know what depletion means? Well , de indicates removal, TAKING away; ple might remind you of plein in French or pieno in Italian (full); tion is a noun-making suffix (state or condition of being). So depletion means 'a decrease in the supply or abbundance of something'.
4) Is there another way you can read?
I'm talking about e-Readers and graded Readers.
Nowadays e-Readers are adding more and more features to make life easier for you. Kindle (other e-Readers are available!) has a Vocabulary Builder feature which not only gives you the possibility to look up a word but also stores the word for you with the phrase in context to check later. Or even Word Wise, that automatically puts a definition of more complex words directly above the word!
Graded Readers ( coming soon a graded reader library on this site! ) are simplified versions of famous stories so you don't have to look up too many words. Many versions contain pictures, summaries, questions and CD or MP3 download to listen and follow with the text. Which brings me to my next point.
What about audiobooks? I have the Audible app and I love it because I am busy with my work and family so my time for sitting down and read is limited but with this app I can listen while I am cleaning or putting out the washing. Many audiobooks are also available on Youtube. I am currently listening (again!) to Alice in Wonderland because the girl who reads communicates the meaning and Alice's childlike excitement wonderfully!
What is this?
When I started lostinclassics I looked for language lessons in the books I was reading, such as for example the use of phrasal verbs or inversion in conditionals and I explained them through examples found in the text. I also did reviews of the books I read and tried to give some advice on how to read classics using the various resources I know of. Then I switched to just reviews and lately I have been doing a bit of creative writing inspired by my reading. Who knows what I will come up with next!