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Publisher's Summary

In this lighthearted guided tour of Latin, journalist and former Latin tutor Harry Mount breathes life back into the greatest language of all, drawing on everything from a Monty Python grammar lesson to Angelina Jolie's tattoos. Filled with fascinating tidbits and humorous asides, Carpe Diem will delight the word lovers who made Eats, Shoots and Leaves such a monster hit.

Whether we're aware of it or not, Latin is all around us. Consider the sayings in everyday use: alter ego, ad nauseam, caveat emptor, modus operandi, per se, and, of course, the ever-popular e pluribus unum. Even more abundant are words derived from Latin roots: arena (from harena, meaning "sand"), auditorium ("a place of audience"), stadium (a running track)...and those are just the theatrical ones!

It's inescapable. It's also the most daunting of languages, one that is seemingly obscure and filled with arcane rules and often accompanied by unpleasant memories of adolescence. But, as Mount says in Carpe Diem, "Knowing a bit of Latin is an invitation to the biggest room in the building, with a view down the corridor to all the succeeding ages. And you can get your hands on that invitation at any age."

©2007 Harry Mount; (P)2007 Tantor Media Inc.

Critic Reviews

"I can't remember the last time I conjugated with such an expert." (Lynne Truss, author of Eats, Shoots, and Leaves)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
  • George
  • Alexandria, VA, USA
  • 07-16-08

Wow: a language book that is written by a human

This is a grand book which is engaging and fun to listen to. Although the author claims otherwise, it does require some exposure to Latin beforehand to really follow it, however. But anyhow, it does manage to get those old Latin chants up and running again.

13 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Katie
  • Shaftsbury, VT, United States
  • 05-01-13

Terrible

What disappointed you about Carpe Diem?

I really disliked this book. I think the premise is good - but the off handed stories that use latin but don't explain it... are frustrating. Truthfully - I hated it after the first chapter. I kept listening hoping it would get better - but it didn't.

What character would you cut from Carpe Diem?

No Charecters - just inane stories.

0 of 3 people found this review helpful