I wouldn't get too hung up on Adam's books at this point. He goes deep into exposure theory, but as said above, today's films are so forgiving, you can keep things simpler.
I suggest you just set your meter at box speed, and go take some photos. If the lighting looks difficult, such as deep shadows or very contrasty, bracket your shots. It won't be long before you will be able to see what works for you.

Mark Barendt's thoughts on incident metering are something to try. This takes a lot of the variables out of metering, and lets you compare incident and reflective light. Sometimes, just walk around with a light meter and try some readings to see how they compare.

Then, show us some of your photos!