What to read? 15 promising titles for early 2011

There's no better way to face the new year than with a good book in hand. Here are 15 promising-looking nonfiction books, all due for release early in 2011.

1.Hot, by Mark Hertsgaard

"Hot: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth," by Mark Hertsgaard (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 352 pp.)
How will our children – and their children – survive the environmental challenges ahead? Mark Hertsgaard’s answers to that question are lucid, realistic, and offer reason for hope. (To be released in January)

The Quiet World, by Douglas Brinkley

"The Quiet World: Saving Alaska’s Wilderness Kingdom 1879-1960," by Douglas Brinkley (Harper, 592 pp.)
Douglas Brinkley, professor of history at Houston’s Rice University and award-winning author of “The Wilderness Warrior,” turns his historic lens on Alaska. (January)

Moneymakers, by Ben Tarnoff

"Moneymakers: The Wicked Lives and Surprising Adventures of Three Notorious Counterfeiters," by Ben Tarnoff (Penguin Press, 384 pp.)
Proving that financial scams are not confined to our own era, Ben Tarnoff follows the lives of three of America’s most successful counterfeiters, all at work in the early decades of US history. (February)

How Italian Food Conquered the World, by John Mariani

"How Italian Food Conquered the World," by John Mariani (Palgrave Macmillan, 288 pp.)
Food writer John Mariani offers a history of Italian cuisine, with a little help from anecdotes by friends including Mario Batali, Giada de Laurentiis, Giuseppe Cipriani, and Nigella Lawson. (March)

Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life, by Karen Armstrong

"Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life," by Karen Armstrong (Knopf, 240 pp.)
Popular religion writer Karen Armstrong spells out a recipe to help us all to cultivate compassion. (January)

Day of Honey, by Annia Ciezadlo

"Day of Honey: A Memoir of Food, Love, and War," by Annia Ciezadlo (Free Press, 400 pp.)
Even in wartime, people must eat. Journalist Annia Ciezadlo – who has written for the Monitor – offers an engaging memoir of life in the war-torn Middle East, in which the pleasures of the table play a heightened role. (February)

Little Princes, by Conor Grennan

"Little Princes: One Man’s Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal," by Conor Grennan (HarperCollins, 304 pp.)
When young globetrotter Conor Grennan discovered an orphanage in Nepal full of children who had been victims of human traffickers, he vowed to dedicate himself to reuniting lost children like these with their parents. (January)

Crazy U, by Andrew Ferguson

"Crazy U: One Dad’s Adventures Getting His Kid Into College," by Andrew Ferguson (Simon & Schuster, 256 pp.)
Weekly Standard senior writer Andrew Ferguson recounts the pressures and stresses of trying to get his son into the right college. (March)

The Dressmaker of Khair Khana, by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon

"The Dressmaker of Khair Khana: Five Sisters, One Remarkable Family, and the Woman Who Risked Everything to Keep Them Safe," by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon (Harper, 288 pp.)
Christian Science Monitor contributor Gayle Tzemach Lemmon tells a true, inspiring story of courageous women and quiet heroism at work in Taliban-era Afghanistan. (March)

To a Mountain in Tibet, by Colin Thurbon

"To a Mountain in Tibet," by Colin Thurbon (Harper, 224 pp.)
Veteran travel writer Colin Thubron visits Tibet’s Mt. Kailas, considered one of the most sacred of the world’s mountains. (March)

Message From an Unknown Chinese Mother, by Xinran

"Message From an Unknown Chinese Mother: Stories of Loss and Love," by Xinran (Simon & Schuster, 272 pp.)
This one is a heartbreaker. Bestselling author Xinran has collected the devastating stories of Chinese mothers who, because of China’s one-child policy, have abandoned or given their daughters up for adoption. (March)

The New Cool, by Neal Bascomb

"The New Cool: A Visionary Teacher, His FIRST Robotics Team, and the Ultimate Battle of Smarts," by Neal Bascomb (Crown, 336 pp.)
Bestselling author Neal Bascomb tells the story of the highly successful FIRST program: a challenge to high school kids to design robots from scratch for national competitions. (March)

The Hidden Reality, by Brian Greene

"The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos," by Brian Greene (Knopf, 384 pp.)
Bestselling author Brian Greene explores the possibility of parallel worlds and raises provocative questions about the true nature of reality. (January)

Heart of the City, by Ariel Sabar

"Heart of the City: Nine Stories of Love and Serendipity on the Streets of New York," by Ariel Sabar (Da Capo Press, 272 pp.)
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, award-winning author Ariel Sabar tells the stories of nine long-married couples – including his own parents – who met and fell in love in iconic New York City public spaces. (January)

Global Girlfriends, by Stacey Edgar

"Global Girlfriends: How One Mom Made It Her Business to Help Women in Poverty Worldwide," by Stacey Edgar (St. Martin’s, 256 pp.)
Stacey Edgar had a dream. She wanted to help women worldwide find a way out of poverty. This is the story of how she founded Global Girlfriend with a $2,000 tax refund and lifted up herself and women around the world. (April)