If you've been feeling Latin-deprived lately, Harry Mount has come to the rescue with Carpe Diem: Put A Little Latin in Your Life. The author began his study of Latin as a schoolboy in London, studied ancient history at Oxford University and worked as a Latin tutor before becoming a journalist. His knowledge, appreciation and love of Latin literature and Roman culture are apparent on every page, and whether you want to refresh your command of the language or have always wanted to get a taste of it, this book will guide and entertain you. Mount begins by pointing out that celebrities like Angelina Jolie have never studied the language, yet choose to get tattoos in Latin. (The tattoo on Jolie's stomach reads, Quod me netrit me destruit or What nourishes me destroys me. ) The author quickly convinces us should we need convincing that Latin and Roman culture have a pervasive influence even today.
Mount readily admits that his book (already a bestseller in the U.K.) is not a comprehensive grammar, but a memory boost for some, or an introduction for beginners. Grammatical explanations are clear and concise and there is a suggested primer for more comprehensive language study for the dedicated Latin scholar. Even for readers not devoted to studying Latin, Carpe Diem is a must-read for understanding how ancient Rome continues to play a role in modern society from inventions such as indoor plumbing and republican government to the influence of Latin literature on English literature.
Mount's humorous book is a testament to the author's abiding love of the language. As he writes, The joy that a little learning of Latin brings is immense. Read this book and you, too, will become a Latin lover.