When I was young, every year at Christmas one of my grandmothers would give me The World Almanac.
I loved them then and still do, although I've often strayed with The New York Times Almanac or the one put out by TIME.
The updates on the countries are reason enough to get an almanac, but there is another benefit: The ability to look at some statistics and ask, "Aside from the surface information, what do these figures reveal?"
I'm buying one today. Great stuff.