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:  

   Dec. 2, 2014 - Chicago Chapter of Continuity of Care at The Breakers, 9AM. The Traitor's Wife program. Contact: Alyse Burman - 847-561-9279 or

   Dec. 5, 2014 - Pioneer Center, Crystal Lake, IL. Finding the Dragon Lady program after luncheon. Contact: Barbara Swanson - 815-759-7144 or

   Dec. 9 and 10 - Neighbors of Kenilworth, IL. Finding the Dragon Lady program after luncheon. Contact: Angela Veber - 847-251-9171 or

   Dec. 11, 2014 - Women's Council of Realtors, Sunset Ridge CC, Northfield, IL. TBA. Contact: Theresa Anderson - 847-305-0628 or

   Jan. 5-17, 2015 - Lecturing aboard the Crystal Symphony Cruise Ship, sailing from Singapore to Bali. Among several programs will be The Dragon Lady Returns to Vietnam!

   Jan. 28, 2015 - Punta Gorda, Florida - Library Friends Event - Isles Yacht Club. Queen Elizabeth II program. Contact: Jerri Marse - 941-833-5460 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, coming in April - They Are All My Family by John Riordan with Monique Brinson Demery
  3. 41, A Portrait of My Father, George W. Bush
  4. The Roosevelts, An Intimate History,  Geoffrey C. Ward and Ken Burns
  5. Catherine, the Great: Portrait of a Woman,  Robert K. Massie
  6. In the Kingdom of Ice, The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette, Hampton Sides
  7. Victura, The Kennedys, A Sailboat, and the Sea, James W. Graham
  8. These Few Precious Days, The Final Year of Jack with Jackie, Christopher Andersen
  9. The News Sorority, Diane Sawyer, Katie Couric, Christiane Amanpour--and the Triumph of Women in TV News, Sheila Weller
  10. Cleopatra: A Life, Stacy Schiff
  11. Not in Front of the Corgis, Secrets of Life Behind the Royal Curtains, Brian Hoey
  12. Coco Chanel,An Intimate Life, Lisa Chaney
  13. Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption,  Laura Hillenbrand
  14. Steve Jobs  &   Einstein: His Life and Universe, Walter Isaacson
  15. Jacqueline Kennedy, Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy, foreword by Caroline Kennedy
  16. The Patriarch, The Life and Times of Joseph P. Kennedy, David Nasaw
  17. Mrs. Kennedy and Me, Clint Hill
  18. Black and White,the Way I See It,   Richard Williams with Bart Davis
  19. I Feel Bad About My Neck and I Remember Nothing Nora Ephron, The MOST of Nora Ephron (new 2013)
  20. The Bully Pulpit, Doris Kearns Goodwin
  21. The Greater Journey, Americans in Paris, and The Path Between the Seas,  David McCullough
  22. Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon's Journey into the Afterlife, Eben Alexander
  23. Radical ReMission, Surviving Cancer Against All Odds, Kelly A. Turner
  24. The Boys In the Boat, Daniel James Brown
  25. Killing Lincoln and Killing Kennedy,  Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard
  26. -Calendar with Spencie Rinella on back cover!
  27. Everything I Need to Know I Learned From A Little Golden Book,   Diane Muldrow
  28. Elderly Parents With All Their Marbles, A Survival Guide for the Kids, Pamela Carey
  29. DADspirations:The 1st 100 Days of Fatherhood,Tips for Parenting Every New Dad Should Know, Pete Dinsmore
  30. The Magnificent Masters, Nicklas, Miller, Weiskoph and the 1975 Cliffhanger at Augusta, Gil Capps
  31. 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. What the Lady Wants, A Novel of Marshall Field and the Gilded Age, Renee Rosen
  6. All The Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr
  7. A Perfect Life, Danielle Steel
  8. Americanah, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  9. China Dolls, Lisa See
  10. The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry, Gabrielle Zevin
  11. Grand Central, Original Stories of Postwar Love and Reunion, Featuring stories by Melanie Benjamin, and other fine authors.
  12. The Aviator's Wife, Melanie Benjamin
  13. Once We Were Brothers, Ronald H. Balson
  14. Claude and Camille, A Novel of Monet, Stephanie Cowell
  15. The First Phone Call From Heaven, Mitch Albom
  16. The Painted Girls, Cathy Marie Buchanan
  17. Me Before You, Jojo Moyes
  18. Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn
  19. Rules of Civility, Amor Towles
  20. Revenge Wears Prada, The Devil Returns, Lauren Weisberger
  21. Beautiful Fools, The Last Affair of Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald, R. Clifton Spargo
  22. Divergent and Insurgent,Veronica Roth
  23. Wonder, R.J. Palacio (young adult)
  24. Who Was Amelia Earhart?, Kate Boehm Jerome (ages 8 to 12)
  25. A Snow Day for Hannah,and  A Beach Day for Hannah, Linda Petrie Bunch
  26. - website for personalized children's books!!
  27. Little Blue Truck's Christmas, Alice Schertle
  28. Star Bright, A Christmas Story, Alison McGhee and Peter H. Reynolds
  29. The Twelve Days of Christmas, Paintings by New York Times bestselling illustrator, LeUyen Pham
  30. Poems to Learn by Heart and A Family of Poems, Caroline Kennedy
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