I'm surprised I missed out on responding to this thread earlier.
We read very little in my high-school Spanish classes, mostly just short texts in our textbooks. I only remember one free-standing publication, a Spanish-language translation of a Donald Duck comic[*], and I'm not even sure I read the whole thing.
When I took German in college, we started reading literature the very first day. Our reader was a graded collection of short stories called Der Weg zum Lesen. This was my first exposure to such titans of 20th-century German fiction as Böll, Borchert, Brecht, and Frisch. My second year we read Brecht's Die kaukasische Kreidekreis, a play, and Thomas Mann's Tonio Kröger, a novella. I bought the latter in an edition with Mario der Zauberer and read that, too.
My junior year abroad is when my foreign-language reading began in earnest. On a trip to Wales I bought my first Welsh novel, an abridged version of Yn ôl i Leifior by Islwyn Ffowc Elis, and on a trip to Spain I bought a book of short stories by Pere Calders, Cròniques de la veritat oculta. I read both of these either that year or soon after my return.
My experiences with German and Catalan showed me that short story collections were the way to go, so I picked up two compilations of short stories by Guy de Maupassant (Contes du jour et de la nuit and Le Horla) and used them to teach myself French. I might have learned Irish earlier than I did if I'd just had some easy way of getting access to short contemporary texts.
[*] What I remember is that Scrooge and his nephews visit a high mountain valley where the air is so thin that television broadcast signals are especially intense. This causes the inhabitants to believe that they are characters in television programmes. I tried reading through summaries but couldn't find it again.
"Richmond is a real scholar; Owen just learns languages because he can't bear not to know what other people are saying."--Margaret Lattimore on her two sons