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, 2016, will be a timely program entitled, "A Tribute to Nancy Reagan and Recent First Ladies!" with wonderful historical information from First Women, The Grace and Power of American's Modern First Ladies by Kate Andersen Brower and Killing Reagan by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard! .Other new programs include dynamic presentations of The Swans of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin and Paula McLain's novel Circling the Sun about Beryl Markham, the first woman to fly solo East to West! Barbara is still getting raves for her dramatization of Allison Pataki's fantastic second novel, The Accidental Empress. Powerful, beautiful Empress Elizabeth of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Hapsburgs will come to life for more wonderful historical fiction, based on "juicy history." Of course, a "shout out" will be given for Allison Pataki's brand new novel, Sisi, The Empress on Her Own, as the story continues! Barbara is also getting cheers for her program on The News Sorority, Diane Sawyer, Katie Couric, Christiane Amanpour--and the Triumph of Women in TV News by Sheila Weller. Respect, appreciation, competition, envy and differences will emerge as one gets to know the Big Three Sorority Girls! Ms. Rinella continues to present her 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 in 2015, broke Queen Victoria's record to become the longest reigning British Monarch ever and who turned 90 on April 21, 2016, the oldest Queen in history! Of course, groups are still requesting "A Visit with Coco Chanel," based on Lisa Chaney's biography! Ms. Rinella also gives a current list of her “favorite reads” at each program. Contact information and her updated reading list are given below. 

Phone:(847) 251-1164


Programs Open to the Public:       

     Oct. 18, 2016-Friends of Lake Forest Library at Gorton Community Center 400 E. Illinois Road, Lake Forest, IL. 3;30pmProgram: Recent First Ladies. Contact: Marie Nemerov (847) 234-0636

     Oct. 19, 2016-Rockfort Art Museum Friends, at Giovanni's, Rockford, IL 12:30 program: The Swans of fifth Avenue. Contact: Sherri Habben (815) 593-1746

     Oct. 26, 2016-Crystal Lake Platinum Adventures Biaggi's 1524 S. Randal Road, Algonquin, IL, 1:00pm Program: Recent First Ladies. Contact Sandra Nolan 815-444-3700 or

     Oct 27. 2016 Marinjoy Bloomingdale Country Club 181 Glen Ellyn Road, Bloomingdale, IL, 1:30pm Program: Swans of Fifth Avenue. Contact Peggy Noland (630) 469-2520 or

     Nov. 18, 2016 Western Springs Senior Center at Grand Avenue Community Center 4211 Grand Avenue, Western Springs, IL. Program: Recent First Ladies. Contact: Mic Cagney 708-246-3299 or

     Nov. 30, 2916-Platinum Adventures, Wintrust Bank and Trust. Sunset Ridge CC. 1pm Program:Recent First Ladies. Contact: Cathy Biggam:




Non Fiction

  1. First Women, The Grace and Power of America's Modern First Ladies and The Residence, Inside the Private World of the White House, Kate Andersen Brower
  2. Killing Reagan  & Killing Kennedy, Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard
  3. The News Sorority, Diane Sawyer, Katie Couric, Christiane Amanpour--and the Triumph of Women in TV News, Sheila Weller
  4. Elizabeth the Queen,The Life of a Modern Monarch, Sally Bedell Smith
  5. Hero of the Empire, The Boer War,a Daring Escape and the Making of Winston Churchill, Candice Millard
  6. Finding the Dragon Lady,The Mystery of  Vietnam's Madame Nhu, Monique Brinson Demery
  7. They Are All My Family by John Riordan with Monique Brinson Demery
  8. Hillbilly Elegy,A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis, J.D. Vance
  9. The Wright Brothers and The Path Between the Seas,  David McCullough
  10. The Witches, Salem, 1692 and Cleopatra: A Life, Stacy Schiff
  11. Catherine, the Great: Portrait of a Woman,  Robert K. Massie
  12. Let's Roll: Ordinary People, Estraordinary Courage, Lisa Beamer
  13. Victura, The Kennedys, A Sailboat, and the Sea, James W. Graham
  14. These Few Precious Days, The Final Year of Jack with Jackie, Christopher Andersen
  15. Rosemary, The Hidden Kennedy, Kate Larson
  16. The Good Son: JFK Jr. and the Mother He Loved, Christopher Andersen
  17. 100 Things Cubs Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die, Jimmy Greenfield
  18. Not in Front of the Corgis, Secrets of Life Behind the Royal Curtains, Brian Hoey
  19. Coco Chanel,An Intimate Life, Lisa Chaney
  20. Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption,  Laura Hillenbrand
  21. Steve Jobs  &   Einstein: His Life and Universe, Walter Isaacson
  22. Who Was Albert Einstein? Jess Brallier (ages 8 to 12)
  23. Jacqueline Kennedy, Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy, foreword by Caroline Kennedy
  24. Mrs. Kennedy and Me, Clint Hill
  25. Who Was William Shakespeare?  , Celeste Mannis (Young Readers)
  26. I Feel Bad About My Neck and I Remember Nothing Nora Ephron, The MOST of Nora Ephron (new 2013)
  27. PAWS Chicago 2016 Calendar - order at to see Spencie Rinella and his friends!


  1. The Traitor's Wife, The Accidental Empress, and Sisi, Empress on Her Own ,Allison Pataki
  2. Circling The Sun, Paula McLain
  3. The Swans of Fifth Avenue and The Aviator's Wife, Melanie Benjamin
  4. The Sympathizer, Viet Thanh Nguyen (Winner of Pulitzer Prize 2016)
  5. TheArt Forger, B.A. Shapiro
  6. Lilac Girls, Martha Hall Kelly
  7. All The Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr (Winner of Pulitzer Prize 2015)
  8. The Nightingale, Kristin Hannah
  9. Karolina's Twins, Saving Sophie and Once We Were Brothers, Ronald H. Balson
  10. Eleven Days, Lea Carpenter
  11. The Door, Magda Szabo
  12. Hot Milk, Deborah Levy
  13. A Man Called Ove, Fredrik Backman
  14. Mademoiselle Chanel: A Novel, C. W. Gortner
  15. The Fortune Hunter, Daisy Goodwin
  16. The Improbability of Love, Hannah Rothschild
  17. What the Lady Wants and White Collar Girl, Renee Rosen
  18. Go Set A Watchman and To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee
  19. Elgible, Curtis Sittenfeld
  20. Claude and Camille, A Novel of Monet, Stephanie Cowell
  21. Me Before You, Jojo Moyes
  22. A Gentleman in Moscow and Rules of Civility, Amor Towles
  23. Wonder, R.J. Palacio (young adult)
  24. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, J.K. Rowling (Ages 8 and up)
  25. Really Important Stuff My Dog Has Taught Me, Cynthia L. Copeland
  26. A Birth Day for Hannah, Linda Petri Bunch (young readers)
  27. Pansy in Venice, The Mystery of the Missing Parrot, Cynthia Bardes (young readers)
  28. Our Great Big Backyard, Laura Bush and Jenna Bush Hager (young readers)
  29. Poems to Learn by Heart and A Family of Poems, Caroline Kennedy
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