It could be that the programming for the Arduino will allow it to access this memory block directly.
It really seems unlikely that your Arduino will be able to read data stored on your PC, any more than it can read data stored on my PC.
So, at this point, I need to know 1) what type/variant of Arduino I would need to buy
Any Arduino will have the same issues. Start with a UNO, since they are the most stable/prevalent.
2) where to find the unit's hardware and programming manuals
The unit's hardware should come in the box with the unit...
The programming manuals are a lot harder to find. There is a reference page, http://arduino.cc/en/Reference/HomePage
, for the Arduino-specific functions and libraries. Other than that, the Arduino is programmed using C++, so most any C or C++ function will work. Obvious exceptions, that deal specifically with hardware that the Arduino doesn't have, like a hard drive, or that deal specifically with software that the Arduino doesn't have, like an operating system, exist.
maybe a "Dummies" book, LOL?
This isn't a project for a Dummy, so a Dummies book would not be too helpful. There are a LOT of Arduino books, though. Google is even able to find one or two of them.