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Carpe Diem: Put a Little Latin in Your Life
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Carpe Diem: Put a Little Latin in Your Life

3.32  ·  Rating Details  ·  322 Ratings  ·  74 Reviews
Liber prosperissimus et mirabilis ex Britannia ad Americam tandem advenit! Umquam vexatus es quando homo inritans "sine qua non" aut "mea culpa" dicit Aut postmeridiana tempora vetera, quando verba obscura ediscere conatus es, terrunt Nil desperandum!

Linguae Latinae hoc in itinere iucundo, qui omnia ex lectione grammatica ab Monte Pythone ad Angelinae Jolia in pelle notas
Hardcover, 259 pages
Published November 6th 2007 by Hyperion (first published January 2nd 2006)
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Sep 08, 2009 Trevor rated it liked it
Shelves: education, language
This is a very cute book. I was mostly interested to see just how similar Latin is to Italian – to be honest, and this is from someone with very limited Italian, it does not seem that they are as similar as I had thought. Latin seems much harder.

I didn’t bother trying to learn the conjugations and declensions – hardly seemed worth the effort if I wasn’t going to actually learn the language. I think this book was, in many ways, an attempt to bring English Public School Old Boys back into the fold

When Harry Mount went to Oxford to study Classics in the late 1980s, he had learned Latin for eight years and Greek for seven, probably on a timetable which allowed him a decent number of periods per subject per week. Since Latin had already been in steep decline since 1960 – when Oxbridge abandoned its entry requirement of Latin or Greek at GCE – Mount was fortunate to get the education he did. The situation in state schools at that time was deteriorating even faster, as a result of Kenneth Bak
May 25, 2013 Chris rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Mostly inoffensive, except for the offensive parts... and then I got to the final chapter, entitled 'Dumbing up, or death to the Cambridge Latin Course.'


The author of this insignificant, error-ridden little book, this flocculus, thinks he can cast aspersions at the CAMBRIDGE LATIN COURSE? There are words in Catullus for people like that.

More significantly, it pretends to be an introduction to Latin, but the grammatical explanations (and the instructions to consult Kennedy) would be useless
Feb 24, 2013 Colin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A brilliantly funny intro/refresher to the art of Latin grammar. By the end I had a nostalgic glow and a slight feeling of inferiority at only having done three years of it at school in the eighties.
The end is an impassioned defence of classics in education. It's not exactly in keeping with the modern trend towards chasing easy, employer-friendly qualifications and it's all the more stirring for being doomed to failure. I'm not sure I agree though. The British are hopeless at learning other lan
Aug 29, 2014 Phair rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, language
Not what I expected. Rather than a book of Latin words and phrases that are found in English language & literature this was almost a Latin language course outline. Reading all that stuff about declensions and cases made me relive the two years I took Latin in high school and reinforced the rightness of my decision NOT to go for a classical diploma but rather to drop Latin at the end of sophomore year and opt for a simpler English diploma track. Of course this is what the author bemoans- the ...more
Apr 04, 2015 Margaret rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
An odd mixture of great wodges of 'serious' Latin - lists of vocabulary or tables of declensions - alongside gossipy little examples of modern celebrity culture rendered in Latin & intended to illustrate some point or other. He includes lots of nasty little digs against people - particularly Paul Gasgoigne & Sarah Ferguson - much in the way that people used to gawp & laugh at "circus freaks". Harry Mount clearly thinks he's a great wag but he comes across as a complete dick.
My copy
Jan 28, 2014 Jon rated it really liked it
Entertaining book that does a good job of selling the idea of studying Latin, and teaching a fair amount of it too. I remember some of my high school classmates were taking Latin, and I thought it was such a waste. I didn't know why you would choose to study a dead language in place of a living one. I'm still not completely sold that Latin should supersede the study of German, French, Spanish, Italian, etc, but I can see the value in it. Why not study Latin just for the joy of it? As the author ...more
Meh. Dull.
Dec 30, 2007 Laura rated it liked it
This little book makes the claim that any person can go from zero to Ciceronian Latin in 249 pages. I think not. Yes, Mount includes many of the crucial 1st/2nd/3rd/etc. declension tables , how to conjugate verbs and put them at the end of sentences, even how adverbs work, but his confidence in his audience seems a tad high when he acknowledges that many of his readers will be coming to the book without the first idea about Latin grammar and 230 pages later he is quoting passages of Tacitus (who ...more
Jan 25, 2009 Joseph rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
If you come into this book thinking you'll walk away with an accelerated sense of Latin, you'll be sorely disappointed. Mount spends a significant amount of time discussing the declension of words, without ever explaining (unless I managed to miss it) what that means or why the reader should be inspired to care. The book jumps from topic to topic in an obvious attempt to avoid boredom, but the end result is a disorganized book that doesn't help make its case that anyone can become a classics exp ...more
Mar 27, 2011 Rick rated it really liked it
CARPE DIEM: PUT A LITTLE LATIN IN YOUR LIFE is a charming little book that gives a little Latin grammar and much interesting information about ancient Rome and its language.

The grammar and vocabulary part served mainly to remind me how much Latin I had forgotten and how much I had probably never known in the first place. Readers who have never studied Latin may find this part interesting, although I suspect people who have had at least a little Latin will be able to relate to it more fully.

The a
Jul 11, 2015 Becky rated it liked it
I felt as though the author hated Latin due to the crass nature. The information was decent, but still came across as 'read this to make yourself sound smarter' rather than an actual intellectual look at the Latin language and history of its use.
Final note, if you make a drinking game out of the number of times the word 'wanker' is used you just might die of alcohol poisoning.
Aug 27, 2008 Tirzah rated it really liked it
this book taught me that i do not care enough about British humor nor about grammar to continue learning dead languages. i do not care to be associated with stuck up snobs who think that reading the Iliad is going to change the world. granted, not all people who study latin are stuck up snobs to i take that back. but my dad is old school enough to appreciate British humor and (as a son of an immigrant) was forced to know his grammar inside and out. therefore, i salute guys like my dad who contin ...more
Jul 11, 2011 Michelle rated it liked it
I'm one of those weird folks who actually thinks it would be kind of groovy to learn Latin. However, I'm in my 40s so the brain is not as pliable regarding language acquisition. For those who studied Latin in school it will provide a great way to brush up. For folks like me, who are new to Latin it will provide a simple framework for understanding the grammatical structure. It doesn't mean you won't have to put time in to really make it your own but it's presented in a non-threatening style with ...more
Rex Brampton
May 30, 2015 Rex Brampton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was always afraid Latin would involve lots of rote learning and would be too hard to learn and this book confirmed it. It's a very good introduction to Latin but conjugating verbs obviously takes years to master. You're not going to learn any Latin from this book but you'll learn a bit about it.
Aug 18, 2014 Robert rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the most moving -and entertaining - books I have read for several years. If you value traditional values - grammar, poetry, knowledge: Highly recommended! And nostalgic for those of us who were once "subjected" to a traditional education. O tempora, o mores!
Andrea Arbit
Apr 13, 2015 Andrea Arbit rated it it was ok
I picked up this book because I was looking for a list of Latin phrases and anecdotes about the Latin language (a little personal research for a project). While it did have some of what I was looking for (in the phrase dictionary at the end), most of the book focused instead on how Latin has affected English and American education in the last few centuries, both advocating for increased Latin in contemporary schools and assuming that its readers have at least a rudimentary understanding of Latin ...more
Don Weidinger
Jul 09, 2014 Don Weidinger rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
from 3rd century BC, subject verb object vs SOV, 7 hills of Rome, crossing the Rubicon River no going back, seize the day, with praise degrees, ie expand eg example, ergo therefore.
Feb 01, 2012 Ledys rated it liked it
I loved listening to this, though I wished I had a book next to me to refer to during all the actual Latin phrases and verb declensions that Mount includes in the text. What I enjoyed the most was hearing about all the ways that we are tied to the past, through the roots of many of our words, yes, (and being a native Spanish speaker, this was particularly significant and relevant to me), but also through so much more. Why some Latin words and even phrases survive to this day? Who picked those, h ...more
Liz Gabbitas
This was a terrible choice for an audio book. What was I thinking? In case you can't imagine it, let me just convey how utterly confusing it is to listen to Latin conjugations as a list read aloud instead of just seeing the chart. I don't even feel like I can rate it because of my horrible decision in medium. This is totally my own fault. Learn from my mistakes, people.
Erica (Flavia) Zahn
Not particularly inspiring, not very funny, mercifully brief. The Latin itself is all correct, though – but as the author says, you are in good hands with Kennedy (and other authors for the non-lingual stuff) if that’s what you want.

If you are a classicist yourself, you might find some of the stereotypes funny (the frequent depiction of classicists in fiction as evil or mad has not escaped me), but the humour itself is nothing to write home about. I suppose someone might get some use out of it a
Kevin Magpoc
My only quibble is that this book isn't what what it seemed to sell itself to be. The back cover description lead me to expect the kind of book that would make Latin more interesting to complete novices, perhaps by pointing out Latin applications and observances in every day life. But most of the book does seem to assume the reader either has some foundation of Latin knowledge, or is able to learn the fundamentals more quickly than should be expected from its brief lessons. I can imagine "Carpe ...more
Erin Gayton
Aug 04, 2013 Erin Gayton rated it did not like it
A very scattered, oddly-written introduction to Latin. I do appreciate Mount's attempt to make Latin accessible-- which is to say that it's a worthy project, one that Mount utterly fails in. He intersperses tables of Latin declensions among tidbits about Latin appearing in pop culture, the character of his former Latin teachers, etc. Periodically he provides tests for which he has not at all prepared us. Instead of making Latin accessible, I was left feeling rather stupid and out of my depth. Mo ...more
Michael Tarpinian
Mildly I the resting, but it is clear I will never learn Latin. But I learned a lot about columns—DICC.

Sep 20, 2015 Tracey rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
An enjoyable read from someone who clearly loves his subject. However, though it claims it is possible to learn elementary Latin from this text, I seriously doubt it is possible with no previous knowledge or supplementary support. Nevertheless, worth reading for the background.
Dec 01, 2014 Megan rated it it was amazing
No, seriously, this book is way more entertaining than you think Latin can be.
Kat Alexander
Aug 11, 2008 Kat Alexander rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-own
#1 most awesome Latin book ever!!! The Latin book that tells you how to conjugate everything (even the tricky little irregular verbs into the tricky little subjunctives), decline everything (including names), and actually be able to understand lawyers in the cop shows, plus history. And of course, all presented in a way that you can actually understand, and that is interesting. (ex: Purple Togas: A History of Roman Emperors) Even the introduction is interesting!!! Great for anyone who likes Lati ...more
Jun 17, 2016 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Fun, light hearted book. Not certain how much Latin I learnt.
Paul Bond
May 19, 2012 Paul Bond rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
Modest, and modestly successful. Mount invites readers a brief introduction to Latin, and to traditions in teaching and learning Latin. The reader leaves with some idea of the classical language's peculiarities, a smattering of memorable phrases, and an idea of what first steps one should take to learn a little more. I imagine this is, in book version, what it would be like to spend a pleasant weekend cooped up with a very genial and chatty enthusiast of the language.
Apr 21, 2012 A. rated it liked it
An interesting refresher if, like me, you haven't touch Latin since University. Though the author suggests that one might learn the fundamentals of Latin from this little book, it seems unlikely that this will really be the case.
I found some of the pop culture references a bit forced, but not entirely un-funny. The second to last chapter is a valuable reminder of how many latin phrases remain in use (to varying degrees) in the english speaking world.
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