Next time you find yourself wishing you had stayed awake more during your college courses, pick up one of these quick studies.
The Intellectual Devotional, Modern Culture: Revive Your Mind, Complete Your Education and Converse Confidently With the Culturati (Rodale) by David S. Kidder and Noah D. Oppenheim is a year's worth of one-page daily readings designed to enhance your knowledge of personalities, literature, music, film, ideas, sports and pop culture of the last century.
The Bedside Baccalaureate: A Handy Daily Cerebral Primer to Fill in the Gaps, Refresh Your Knowledge and Impress Yourself and Other Intellectuals (Sterling), edited by David Rubel, groups 20 concise courses in everything from rocket science to Russian lit into four syllabi; you can complete one course's single-page lessons or rotate subjects.
The Mental Floss History of the World: An Irreverent Romp Through Civilization's Best Bits (Collins) by Erik Sass and Steve Wiegand is a smartly hilarious tour of the past (Who's Your Daddy?: The Founding Fathers in Four Minutes) from those wonderfully geeky folks at Mental Floss magazine.
Colette Bancroft, Times book editor