I read Carpe Diem: Put a Little Latin in Your Life by Harry Mount over the weekend and found it fascinating and enjoyable. Especially so since I skipped the declension and conjugation tables, which the author encouraged. Mount, a journalist who majored in classics at Oxford, explains Rome and the Latin language in a breezy and fun manner and confirms suspicions long held about some of the prep-school Latin masters.
Mount and others have said that learning a language is akin to peeking inside a culture's inner thoughts. This may well be true. I was especially struck by how questions in Latin are constructed in two different ways. A question prefaced by "nunc" is asked when the anticipated answer is yes; when prefaced by "num," the answer would be in the negative. Romans, it seems, were adverse to being surprised.