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, 2015, Barbara will present a 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." Beginning in Spring, 2015, Barbara created a 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!  Barbara is still having a ball with her 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 current, 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 will soon break Queen Victoria's record to become the longest reigning British Monarch ever, and has just become a great-grandmother for the fifth time! 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 are given below. 

Events open to the Public:  

September 11,2015-Howard Area Community Center Event at Evanston CC. 1pm, The News Sorority Program. Contact Elizabeth Ulion (773-262-6622 x244) or

September 18, 2015-Glenview Senior Center, IL 11:00am. The Accidental Empress Program. Contact Jeanne Even (847) 965-7209

September 21, 2015-Town & Country Public Library Elburn, IL 1:00p. The Art Forger. Contract Catherine Korthals (630) 365-2244

September 29, 2015-The Little Traveler 404 South 3rd Street, Geneva, IL 9:00a. Program TBA. Contact Sandy Fischer (630) 232-4200

October 5, 2015-Mount Prospect Public Library 10 South Emerson Mount Prospect, IL 1:00p. The Accidental Empress Program. Contact Joyce Brantner (847) 253-5675

October 7, 2015-Inverness Country Club, IL 10:00a. Program TBA. Contact Kathy Klein (847) 310-0897

October 7, 2015-DAR Ladies Exmoor CC, IL 1:15p. Program The News Sorority. Contact Sharon Collias (847) 668-2152

October 14, 2015-Rockford Art Museum Giovanni's Conference Center Rockford, IL  12:30n. Program TBA. Contact Linda Dennis (815) 972-2878

October 20, 2015-State Bank for the Lakes Platinum Adventures Marvella's Ingleside, IL 1:00p. Program TBA. Contact Sandra Nolan (847) 838-7030

October 22, 2015-Saratoga Performing Arts Center Spa Little Theatre Saratoga NY 10:00a. Program TBA. Contact Linda Deschenes (518) 584-9330 xt 115


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. They Are All My Family by John Riordan with Monique Brinson Demery
  4. The News Sorority, Diane Sawyer, Katie Couric, Christiane Amanpour--and the Triumph of Women in TV News, Sheila Weller
  5. It'sWhat I Do, A Photographer's Life of Love and War, Lynsey Addario
  6. 41, A Portrait of My Father, George W. Bush
  7. The Wright Brothers and The Path Between the Seas,  David McCullough
  8. The Residence, Inside the Private World of the White House, Kate Andersen Brower
  9. The Stylish Life Tennis, Ben Rothenberg
  10. Catherine, the Great: Portrait of a Woman,  Robert K. Massie
  11. Primates of Park Avenue, a memoir, Wednesday Martin
  12. Victura, The Kennedys, A Sailboat, and the Sea, James W. Graham
  13. These Few Precious Days, The Final Year of Jack with Jackie, Christopher Andersen
  14. The Good Son: JFK Jr. and the Mother He Loved, Christopher Andersen
  15. Cleopatra: A Life, Stacy Schiff 
  16. UniChef, Top Chefs Unite in Support of The World's Children, cookbook by Hilary Gumbel
  17. Not in Front of the Corgis, Secrets of Life Behind the Royal Curtains, Brian Hoey
  18. Coco Chanel,An Intimate Life, Lisa Chaney
  19. Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption,  Laura Hillenbrand
  20. Steve Jobs  &   Einstein: His Life and Universe, Walter Isaacson
  21. Jacqueline Kennedy, Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy, foreword by Caroline Kennedy
  22. Mrs. Kennedy and Me, Clint Hill
  23. Born to Be King, Prince Charles on Planet Windsor, Catherine Mayer
  24. I Feel Bad About My Neck and I Remember Nothing Nora Ephron, The MOST of Nora Ephron (new 2013)
  25. The Bully Pulpit, Doris Kearns Goodwin
  26. The Joy of Mom, Celebrating a Mother's Love, Vicki Reese
  27. Mrs. Thorne's World of Miniatures, Sally Sexton Kalmbach
  28. Radical ReMission, Surviving Cancer Against All Odds, Kelly A. Turner
  29. The Boys In the Boat, Daniel James Brown
  30. Yes, Please, Amy Poehler
  31. -Calendar with Spencie Rinella on back cover!


  1. The Traitor's Wife, and The Accidental Empress, Allison Pataki
  2. TheArt Forger, B.A. Shapiro
  3. All The Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr
  4. The Nightingale, Kristin Hannah
  5. The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins
  6. The Sympathizer, Viet thanh Nguyen
  7. The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt
  8. What the Lady Wants, A Novel of Marshall Field and the Gilded Age, Renee Rosen
  9. Gray Montain , John Grisham
  10. The Invention of Wings, Sue Monk Kidd
  11. Americanah, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi
  12. China Dolls, Lisa See
  13. History of the Rain, Niall Williams
  14. The Aviator's Wife, Melanie Benjamin
  15. Claude and Camille, A Novel of Monet, Stephanie Cowell
  16. The First Phone Call From Heaven, Mitch Albom
  17. The Painted Girls, Cathy Marie Buchanan
  18. Me Before You, Jojo Moyes
  19. Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn
  20. Rules of Civility, Amor Towles
  21. Divergent and Insurgent,Veronica Roth
  22. Wonder, R.J. Palacio (young adult)
  23. Who Was Amelia Earhart?, Kate Boehm Jerome (ages 8 to 12)
  24. Who Was Albert Einstein? Jess Brallier (ages 8 to 12)
  25. Owl Diaries, Rebecca Elliot (early, young readers)
  26. A Snow Day for Hannah,and  A Beach Day for Hannah, Linda Petrie Bunch (young readers)
  27. Really Important Stuff My Dog Has Taught Me, Cynthia L. Copeland
  28. I Love Dogs, Sue stainton and Bob Staake (children's book)
  29. - website for personalized children's books!!
  30. Poems to Learn by Heart and A Family of Poems, Caroline Kennedy
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