First and foremost, the works of Bergen Evans, the Proto-Cecil – On the Spoor of Spooks and The Natural History of Nonsense.
I’ll also second Czarcasm’s William Poundstone books, and add the third he unaccountably left off, ** Biggest Secrets**
For debunking, I recommend the works of Harry Houdini (Yes!), James Randi, and the publications of PSI, the former CSICOP. For UFOs, read the books of Donald Menzel, Phillip Klass, James Obserg, and others.
That sounds about right—mine dealt with the Apollo program, at least the landing on the Moon—and I think the start of Voyager, but not much after that. Grandparents had an older, 1960s-ish version. Syntax was quite a bit behind the Britannica, but it served to give me a life-long love of learning new things. Which is one of the reasons I stay here.
I haven’t had the heart to read newer versions.
The thing about the Guinness Book was that it would bring up some of the most random records, and observations, that’d make you think, “That’s weird, what’s the rest of the story?” Like the high dive records, that mentioned, as an aside, that some guy jumped from a zeppelin into the Bodensee from about twice the height of the cliff divers that took up most of the entry. There were a bunch of random tidbits like that.
My husband and I are fans of the Don’t Know Much About… series of books. We have Don’t Know Much About History, Don’t Know Much About The Bible, Don’t Know Much About The Presidents, and a few more. They’re always well written and a quick read. We like to bring them with on road trips because he can read a section and we can talk about it.
In Junior High and High School, the Guinness Book of World Records was fun to peruse. In 1978 when my best friend was in the hospital for surgery, he asked for the Book of Lists and I got it for him. I’d never heard it before.
As a kid in elementary school, I loved browsing through the encyclopedia and reading one topic, which then connected to another topic so I’d look up that, and so on. These days Wikipedia makes that easy. I believe in Wikipedia and their mission and donate to them.
As for the Trivia Games in the Thread Games sub-forum, I’m having a lot of fun with that. Sure a lot of it is copying and pasting, but some of it is from memory, and looking things up remains fun.