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.For Spring, 2016, Barbara is presenting two new programs. She will bring to life 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!   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 recently 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!   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:. 

May 3 - Plum Grove Book Group, Rolling Green CC, IL - Swans of Fifth Avenue program. Contact Marylou Burger: (847) 397-8168

May 4 - Kenilworth Union Church, Kenilworth, IL - Circling the Sun program. Contact Judy Dold: (847) 441-8445

May 6 - Trinity High School Alum Event, River Forest, IL - Circling the Sun program. Contact Marigayle Harrington: (708)453-8328

May 6 - Addolorata Villa Event, Wheeling, IL - Swans of Fifth Avenue program. Contact Sharon Brand: (847)215-5849

May 9 - North Shore Senior Center, Northfield, IL - Accidental Empress program. Contact Joan Waxman or Mary Staackmann: (847) 784-6002

May 11 - Ozaukee Family Services Event, Thiensville,. Wisconsin - Circling the Sun program. Contact Ozaukee Family Services: (262) 376-7774

May 12 - Briarwood Country Club Event, Highland Park, IL - "A Visit with Coco Chanel" program. Contact Ed Conter: (847) 945-2660

May 13 - Glenview Senior Center, Glenview, IL - Circling the Sun program. Contact Jeanne Even: (847) 965-7209

May 13 - Literary Review Club, Des Plaines, IL - Swans of Fifth Avenue program. Contact Sue D'Hondt: (847) 824-6914

May 15 - Society of Colonial Wars Group, Shore Acres CC - The Traitor's Wife program. Contact Brian White: (312) 787-1132

May 20 - Maine Township Mainestreamers, Niles, IL - Circling the Sun program. Contact Mary Swanson: (847) 297-2510 extension 240


Phone:(847) 251-1164



Non Fiction

  1. Elizabeth the Queen,The Life of a Modern Monarch, Sally Bedell Smith
  2. The News Sorority, Diane Sawyer, Katie Couric, Christiane Amanpour--and the Triumph of Women in TV News, Sheila Weller
  3. 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
  4. Killing Reagan  & Killing Kennedy, Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard
  5. Finding the Dragon Lady,The Mystery of  Vietnam's Madame Nhu, Monique Brinson Demery
  6. They Are All My Family by John Riordan with Monique Brinson Demery
  7. It'sWhat I Do, A Photographer's Life of Love and War, Lynsey Addario
  8. The Wright Brothers and The Path Between the Seas,  David McCullough
  9. The Witches, Salem, 1692 and Cleopatra: A Life, Stacy Schiff
  10. Chicken Soup for the Soul, Think Possible, Amy Newmark and Deborah Norville
  11. Escape Points, A memoir by Michele Weldon
  12. Catherine, the Great: Portrait of a Woman,  Robert K. Massie
  13. What if..? How to Create the Life you Want Using the Power of Possibility, Martina E. Faulkner
  14. The Remarkable Rise of Eliza Jumel, Margaret A. Oppenheimer
  15. Victura, The Kennedys, A Sailboat, and the Sea, James W. Graham
  16. These Few Precious Days, The Final Year of Jack with Jackie, Christopher Andersen
  17. Rosemary, The Hidden Kennedy, Kate Larson
  18. The Good Son: JFK Jr. and the Mother He Loved, Christopher Andersen
  19. UniChef, Top Chefs Unite in Support of The World's Children, cookbook by Hilary Gumbel
  20. Not in Front of the Corgis, Secrets of Life Behind the Royal Curtains, Brian Hoey
  21. Coco Chanel,An Intimate Life, Lisa Chaney
  22. Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption,  Laura Hillenbrand
  23. Steve Jobs  &   Einstein: His Life and Universe, Walter Isaacson
  24. Who Was Albert Einstein? Jess Brallier (ages 8 to 12)
  25. Jacqueline Kennedy, Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy, foreword by Caroline Kennedy
  26. Mrs. Kennedy and Me, Clint Hill
  27. Who Was William Shakespeare?  , Celeste Mannis (Young Readers)
  28. I Feel Bad About My Neck and I Remember Nothing Nora Ephron, The MOST of Nora Ephron (new 2013)
  29. The Joy of Mom, Celebrating a Mother's Love, Vicki Reese
  30. 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. My Name is Lucy Barton,  Elizabeth Strout
  6. TheArt Forger, B.A. Shapiro
  7. All The Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr (Winner of Pulitzer Prize 2015)
  8. The Nightingale, Kristin Hannah
  9. Saving Sophie and Once We Were Brothers, Ronald H. Balson
  10. Fugitive Colors, Lisa Barr
  11. Mademoiselle Chanel: A Novel, C. W. Gortner
  12. The Fortune Hunter, Daisy Goodwin
  13. Did You Ever Have A Family, Bill Clegg
  14. The Improbability of Love, Hannah Rothschild
  15. What the Lady Wants and White Collar Girl, Renee Rosen
  16. Go Set A Watchman and To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee
  17. History of the Rain, Niall Williams
  18. Claude and Camille, A Novel of Monet, Stephanie Cowell
  19. Me Before You, Jojo Moyes
  20. Rules of Civility, Amor Towles
  21. Wonder, R.J. Palacio (young adult)
  22. A Lion in Paris, Beatrice Alemagna (children's book)
  23. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone: Illustrated Edition, J.K. Rowling (Ages 8 and up)
  24. The Littlest Bunny in Florida, Lily Jacobs
  25. Really Important Stuff My Dog Has Taught Me, Cynthia L. Copeland
  26. Diary of a Wimpy Kid Old School Jeff Kinney
  27. - website for personalized children's books!!
  28. Poems to Learn by Heart and A Family of Poems, Caroline Kennedy
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