SQL is pretty much out of scope for a book on iOS (or Mac) programming, since it’s a whole topic unto itself.
That said, the fundamentals of what you’re trying to accomplish should be totally doable.
SQLite is quite popular, so there is a wealth of info about it, and many languages can talk to it. You could, for example, take a comma-delimited file and load it into SQLite using Perl or whatever your quick-and-dirty language of choice happens to be, then drop the resulting database into your iOS app for perusal.
One such tutorial on iOS+FMDB is here. The sample project – which appear to do everything you want, and more – is linked at the end of the article.
The advantage of using SQLite is that since it’s a database, queries can be quick. For that matter, you would’t need to copy the data over to Core Data. It’s hard to see the advantage of such a copy since the data is going to be static anyway.