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Carpe Diem - Put a Little Latin in Your Life
by Harry Mount
ISBN 1-4013-2234-2
Published November 2007 - Hardcover - 259 pages - $19.95

No one I know did Latin at school, however, in some places it's still being taught.  I think in England it's not that difficult to find schools that offer Latin, and there are more now in America.  That's not to say I don't know any Latin.  I don't know much, I'll admit, but some words and sayings that have been around since the year dot (when Latin was spoken), have always been part of my lingo.  For example: i.e. = id est); etc. = et cetera; persona non grata (speaks for itself), and rigor mortis (need I say more?).  Maybe if I were Catholic, I might have learned more Latin.  See the "Latin Phrasebook" on page 210 - we know more Latin than we thought!  Author Harry Mount, who was a Latin tutor no less, also read Classics at Oxford (according to the book's dust jacket), so perhaps he's more than qualified than most to explain it all to us.  Mount clearly spells out what you need to know about the language in order to learn it, if you'd care to.  People are hardly able to speak English anymore; what would they do with another language?  Probably mess it up too.  Not only does this book cover Latin, it also deviates to include interesting information on Roman/Greek/French architecture among other things.  I don't know my subjunctives from my declensions or my gerundives from my vocatives.  Didn't think I needed to know, but I nevertheless thoroughly enjoyed this book.  To me, true torture would be having to learn Latin.  This book is along the lines of Lynne Truss' books.
Conclusion - Infinitely entertaining, and a joy to read.

book cover

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