Challenge: Read the Almanac cover to cover

I am a HUGE fan of statistics, and facts & figures. Over the summer, I read a memoir by a guy who read the entire Encyclopeida Britannica cover to cover (it took him roughly a month to read each of the 32 volumes). Before reading the book, this was a challenge I wanted to attempt myself someday, until I was reminded that there’d be 50 straight pages of biographies of every King Charles who ever existed, as well as page after page about diseases which I could neither pronounce or spell. And since I’m not a very fast reader, I knew I would never accomplish this goal, so I shelved the idea (pun intended).

I was just thinking though, that Almanac publishing time is just around the corner, and since I update mine every 2 or 3 years (I currently have the 2006 World Almanac & Book of Facts, which I look at on nearly a daily basis), when the 2008 edition came out, I will pick it up, and read it like a book, reading every number, every address, and every map, turning to the next page when I absorb everything.

The big question is, which Almanac do I go with? I noticed that the World and the New York Times (both of which I’ve owned editions of in the past) are 1008 pages, and there is also the Time Magazine Almanac which is slightly shorter but also twice as expensive. And there’s something called the Schott’s Almanac which as advertised as ‘the Almanac to read, not just reference!’

Have any other dopers ever attempted this challenge? Which is your favorite yearly almanac?

Yes. I think the first one I read cover to cover was 1988 edition of The World Almanac. I’d read bits and pieces of previous years, but that year I decided to read the entire thing. I did it again with the 1990 edition, which was LATE because of the Loma Prieta earthquake and did not include World Series stats.

I purchased it every year on the day of release until about 10 years ago, when the internet sort of took over as my misc. fact fix. I never read them cover to cover after 1990 though. But I’d still spend hours reading the updates or just general info.
I think it was the 1991 edition that I decided to call or write to the tourist info departments of every state in the US. I ended up with a closet full of maps and brochures for almost every state in America. ( I think I was shy just 5 or 6.)

did you notice any major changes in the two times you read it? The second time around, did you have a lot of “hey, I knew that!” moments with information you haven’t used since the first time? And how much truly interesting stuff did you learn that you otherwise never would have read on your own?

I did have a lot of “hey, I knew that!” moments, and with certain oddball facts I come across here and there, I still do today.

In the general content, I didn’t notice many changes. Over the years, I learned where to go for the new content and would focus mainly on those areas, while skimming the rest. The ‘new areas’ I’d go straight to reading (and forgive me, I’m pulling this all from memory) - The Year in Chronological Order. Obituaries. Major News highlights. Odd news stories. Sports stats. Major awards like Tony’s, Emmy’s, Oscar’s etc. And a few other things.

I learned lots of stuff, but I’m sure I promptly forgot most of it, or at least the boring (to me) stuff.