Ever since my Latin coursework in high school, the history of the entire Roman empire (or even the definition of the beginning and end of the empire) has intrigued me: an abundance of confusing first or last or family names for all of the men in power, neverending stretches of land and waters, and a contradiction between war and the arts.
This version by Mary Beard was a tough but very pleasant read. I enjoyed that besides the nitty-gritty of the official documents, she showed me the everyday impact of living in this time on random but normal people.
Next time I pick up another detective or romance novel taking place in this era, I will keep what I have read in SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome as a reference in my mind to get a better understanding of what actually was going on!
If you are but a smidgen interested in Rome and its people, I can recommend this book to you!