Book Dramatist

Barbara Rinella


Barbara Rinella, a former teacher, defines herself as an “academic entertainer.” For many years she has been celebrating literature and learning through her delightful programs on current books. New for Fall, 2014, is a dramatization of The Traitor's Wife, The Woman Behind Benedict Arnold and the Plan to Betray America by Allison Pataki. This fabulous historical fiction reveals how beautiful Philadelphia socialite Peggy Shippen, who loved to party with the British officers, will end up marrying Benedict Arnold and play a significant role in his treachery to the Patriot's cause!  Another very popular program is bringing to life Finding the Dragon Lady, The Mystery of Vietnam's Madame Nhu by Monique Brinson Demery, filled with astounding history and some spectacular stories about the author!  Ms. Rinella is also presenting a wonderful program on Elizabeth the Queen, The Life of a Modern Monarch by Sally Bedell Smith. Please pay homage to spectacular Queen Elizabeth II, who has ruled Great Britain for 62 years, and has recently become a great-grandmother for the third time! Other current programs include "A Visit with Jackie Kennedy" as we  observed the 50th anniversary of tragedy in Dallas on November 22,2013, and a program entitled "From Einstein to Steve Jobs" based on Walter Isaacson's terrific biographies. Ms. Rinella has also created a fine tribute to Coco Chanel based on Lisa Chaney's biography, Coco Chanel, An Intimate Life. Finally, there is a wonderful dramatization of  B. A. Shapiro's historical fiction, The Art Forger, which was inspired by the 1990 art heist at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston.  Come meet struggling artist, Claire Roth, who is asked to reproduce a stolen painting.  Is that illegal? The phenomenal Isabelle Stewart Gardner herself will also make an appearance--fascinating and fun!   Ms. Rinella also gives a current list of her “favorite reads” at each program. Contact information and her updated reading list is given below. 

Events open to the Public:  

            Oct. 16, 2014 - St. Catherine's, Glenview, IL, 7:30pm, TBA. Contact: Cathy Kee (847) 724-0170

             Oct. 17, 2014 - Labor Relations Advisory Committee, Chicago. 2pm Dragon Lady Program. Contact Bruce Stickler: (312) 569-1325

             Oct. 21, 2014 - State Bank of the Lakes, Ingleside, IL. 1pm Dragon Lady Program. Contact: Sandie Nolan: (847)838-7030 or

             Oct. 22, 2014 - College Endowment Assn., Mlwaukee, WI. Catherine the Great Program at 10am. Contact: Sybille Hamilton:

             Oct. 23, 2014 - Marinjoy Benefit, Bloomingdale CC, IL. The Traitor's Wife Program. 1:30pm. Contact: Peggy Noland: (630)469-2529 or  

             Nov 5, 2014-Platinum Adventures, Ridge CC, IL. Queen Elizabeth II Program, 1:30p. Contact Margie O'Connell: 773-239-2265 or

             Nov 6. 2014-Northbrook Book Group, Pavilion Restaurant Northbrook, IL. The Traitor's Wife Program  1pm. Contact Judith Connolly 312-863-1140 or

             Nov 7, 2014-Hubbard Woods PTA, Skokie CC, IL. The Traitor's Wife Program 1pm. Contact Hubbard Woods Elementary School 847-446-0920

             Nov 12, 2014-Montgomery Place Event, Chicago, IL. Einstein/Steve Jobs Program 11am and 3pm. Contact Heidi Harrison 804-370-3616 or heidi@

             Nov 13, 2014-St. John's Church, Wilmette, IL. Program TBD 10am. Contact St. John's Lutheran Church 847-251-1730.

             Nov 14, 2014 Wintrust Financial at SRCC, Northfield, IL. Program TBD 1pm. Contact Cathie Biggam 847-853-3590 or

             Nov 17, 2014 Warren Newport Library, Gurnee, IL. Program The Traitor's Wife Program 4pm. Contact Debbie Hoffman 847-244-5150

             Nov 18, 2014 Platinum Adventures Club at Biaggi's Algonquin, IL. The Traitor's Wife Program 1pm. Contact Sandra Nolan 815-444-3700 or

             Nov 19, 2014 Jr. League Evanston-North Shore at Winnetka Community House, IL . Program TBD 7:45p. Contact League Office 847-441-0995 or

Phone:(847) 251-1164



Non Fiction

  1. Elizabeth the Queen,The Life of a Modern Monarch, Sally Bedell Smith
  2. Finding the Dragon Lady,The Mystery of  Vietnam's Madame Nhu, Monique Brinson Demery
  3. Catherine, the Great: Portrait of a Woman,  Robert K. Massie
  4. In the Kingdom of Ice, The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette, Hampton Sides
  5. Victura, The Kennedys, A Sailboat, and the Sea, James W. Graham
  6. These Few Precious Days, The Final Year of Jack with Jackie, Christopher Andersen
  7. The News Sorority, Diane Sawyer, Katie Couric, Christiane Amanpour--and the Triumph of Women in TV News, Sheila Weller
  8. Cleopatra: A Life, Stacy Schiff
  9. Not in Front of the Corgis, Secrets of Life Behind the Royal Curtains, Brian Hoey
  10. Coco Chanel,An Intimate Life, Lisa Chaney
  11. Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption,  Laura Hillenbrand
  12. Steve Jobs  &   Einstein: His Life and Universe, Walter Isaacson
  13. Jacqueline Kennedy, Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy, foreword by Caroline Kennedy
  14. The Patriarch, The Life and Times of Joseph P. Kennedy, David Nasaw
  15. Mrs. Kennedy and Me, Clint Hill
  16. Black and White,the Way I See It,   Richard Williams with Bart Davis
  17. I Feel Bad About My Neck and I Remember Nothing Nora Ephron, The MOST of Nora Ephron (new 2013)
  18. The Bully Pulpit, Doris Kearns Goodwin
  19. The Greater Journey, Americans in Paris, and The Path Between the Seas,  David McCullough
  20. Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon's Journey into the Afterlife, Eben Alexander
  21. Radical ReMission, Surviving Cancer Against All Odds, Kelly A. Turner
  22. The Boys In the Boat, Daniel James Brown
  23. Killing Lincoln and Killing Kennedy,  Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard
  24. Bossypants, Tina Fey
  25. Everything I Need to Know I Learned From A Little Golden Book,   Diane Muldrow
  26. Elderly Parents With All Their Marbles, A Survival Guide for the Kids, Pamela Carey
  27. DADspirations:The 1st 100 Days of Fatherhood,Tips for Parenting Every New Dad Should Know, Pete Dinsmore
  28. The Magnificent Masters, Nicklas, Miller, Weiskoph and the 1975 Cliffhanger at Augusta, Gil Capps
  29. The Greatest Golf Courses and how they are played, North America, Mark Rowlinson, gen. editor


  1. The Traitor's Wife, Allison Pataki (Coming in February, 2015, The Accidental Empress, Allison Pataki)
  2. TheArt Forger, B.A. Shapiro
  3. The Invention of Wings, Sue Monk Kidd
  4. The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt
  5. China Dolls, Lisa See
  6. The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry, Gabrielle Zevin
  7. All The Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr
  8. A Perfect Life, Danielle Steel
  9. Grand Central, Original Stories of Postwar Love and Reunion, Featuring stories by Melanie Benjamin, and other fine authors.
  10. The Aviator's Wife, Melanie Benjamin
  11. Once We Were Brothers, Ronald H. Balson
  12. Claude and Camille, A Novel of Monet, Stephanie Cowell
  13. Under the Wide and Starry Sky, Nancy Horan
  14. The First Phone Call From Heaven, Mitch Albom
  15. The Painted Girls, Cathy Marie Buchanan
  16. The Burgess Boys, Elizabeth Strout
  17. The Dinner, Herman Koch
  18. And the Mountains Echoed, Khaled Hosseini
  19. Me Before You, Jojo Moyes
  20. Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn
  21. Rules of Civility, Amor Towles
  22. Revenge Wears Prada, The Devil Returns, Lauren Weisberger
  23. Z, A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald, Therese Anne Fowler
  24. Beautiful Fools, The Last Affair of Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald, R. Clifton Spargo
  25. Divergent and Insurgent,Veronica Roth
  26. Annabelle and the Sandhog, Ray Paul
  27. Wonder, R.J. Palacio (young adult)
  28. M is for Monster: A Fantastic Creatures Alphabet, Patrick Lewis and Gerald Kelly
  29. Who Was Amelia Earhart?, Kate Boehm Jerome (ages 8 to 12)
  30. The Titanic: Lost and Found, Judy Donnelly (grades 2 to 4)
  31. - website for personalized children's books!!
  32. The Day the Crayons Quit, Drew Daywalt (Young Readers)
  33. Poems to Learn by Heart and A Family of Poems, Caroline Kennedy
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