rdearman wrote:Again, I've probably read well over 200 books in French or Italian, and I don't mean "the little prince". I'm currently reading a 350-page science fiction book in French and a 3000-page history of Alexander the Great in Italian (I've been at this one awhile). I've read 3-4 Stephen King books in French and tons of other stuff. I don't read classic literature simply because I prefer modern writing. But I have read a lot of Jules Verne in French. Looking at a couple of pages of my French SciFi book (I underline words I don't know) it looks like I have about a 3.39% unknown word per page rate. I only sampled 4-5 pages though of one book. The Italian book is worse, but that is because of terms like phalanx, chariot, trireme (ships), javelin, swords, spears, clubs, maces, axes, catapults, siege towers, and battering ram, etc
I haven't read this message before posting my reply above. While my advice would basically remain the same (even more time and patience, actually!), I think, it is worth checking the following statistics, if you haven't seen it yet. It's a rough amateur estimation, still it's quite telling. As you can see, in order to go from 95% known words to 98%, you need to learn almost as much words as before (14k vs 27k). In order to get to 99,5% you need to get another 15k. To make things worse, these are low frequency words, so extensive reading would be of little help.
Now, there are all sorts of problems with such quantitative estimations and I don't want to go into that here. But they give you some vague sense of how challenging it is to master the last 3-4%. From the practical point of view, it basically means two things. You can simply relax and don't be too harsh on yourself. Yet, as your OP seems to suggest, that is not an option. In that case you need to incorporate some form of vocabulary review if you want to increase it (it will very slow, you will start to appreciate after a year of extensive reading, I think). I believe your reviewing should be easy, so Anki (unless you tinker with its default settings) would be an overkill. Definitely you need to practice passive recognition only. In my case, I either write translations on the margin or make a list of new expressions and review them in a very chilly mode for several days. I don't expect 100% retention. Then, if you meet this word in 6 months or even a year, your chances to recognize this word would be much higher.
In case of other skills, I think, the situation is pretty much the same. The problem is that at such an advanced stage (and after 200 books you cannot be intermediate, at least in your passive skills) the progress is basically imperceptible. Actually, I never used flashcards and any other form of vocabulary review before advanced stages. Psychologically, it was very hard for me to realize that, in order to progress at the advanced stage, I need to incorporate some techniques which are usually recommended for beginners (vocabulary review? pfff, I can easily read a hundred pages a day, so why would I need it?). So, it's more about learner's psychology. And patience, as always.