The beauty of my idea is you don't need to know much of databases. You would be essentially be fooling WP into doing what it does normally, except it is unknowingly actually connected to a different database. If this idea fails, then you probably will need to start learning about databases as you will be managing access to the second database with your own code.
I'm sorry I can't suggest any good resources for pulling this off. The first thing you should focus on doing is creating a database object equivalent to the global $wpdb. ($wpdb is instantiated in
require_wp_db() which is defined in wp-includes/load.php.) Then see if you can swap yours for the original and do a get_posts() from the second database without WP having a fit. If you can do that, I'd say this is a viable project.