This week’s review is of a nonfiction book I haven’t so much read cover-to-cover as dipped into throughout the past few weeks. And a book I plan to continue dipping into, as I write The Case of the Cunning Linguist.
You see, back in 2013 when I started writing this murder mystery set in a convent, I realized I would need some Latin terminology to set up the double meaning of my book’s title. Not only is The Case of the Cunning Linguist a pun, but it’s also supposed to be a book about legit linguists – or, at least, Latin scholars.
Latin, being a dead language (as far as most people living in 2015 will tell you, though Max Fisher may disagree), it isn’t typically taught in schools… and the Internet’s free translation services are um… scheiße at best – judging by this translation of a German postcard I typed in this morning, which suggested “On time or look good? Time can everyone!”:
Anyway, my point is this: I knew I needed to get a book of Latin phrases to spice up my mystery, make me look smart, and otherwise stand in for years – or even decades – of Classicals studies.
Enter Veni, Vidi, Vici by Eugene Ehrlich. This is the review I wrote for his book at Amazon:
Yes, you read that right: I totally bought this book in order to fake my way through some Latin terms. It’s what we writers call “research.”
Seriously, though, Eugene Ehrlich is kicking ass here. I am conquering enemies, impressing friends (or at least Twitter followers) and invading Rome as we speak!
Maybe not that last one.
If you’ve ever wanted to start sprinkling your everyday conversations, or not-so-everyday writing with Latin phrases, this is the book to acquire. Stealthily. Maybe from a competing bookshop. Perhaps on sale. Or with a five-finger discount. (NOTE: I do not condone theft. I fully paid for this book, but not at Amazon.)
In conclusion, if you still don’t know what “Veni, Vidi, Vici” means, then by all means grab a copy of this book and find out! Suddenly so many classical references will make way more sense to you. And those “Latin terms” they mention in Dangerous Liaisons will also become all the sweeter. Or literal. Or awesome.
In short, if you’ve been needing a reference book full of Latin phrases, I highly recommend this one. You can page through at random, or flip through the index until you find a phrase that suits your mood. And even if you never utter a single phrase aloud (although, I should note, there are pronunciation guides for each one), you can definitely impress your friends (or bosses) by sprinkling them into your emails or text messages. It’s way better than using Google Translate. Trust me.