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 Spring, 2017, are two exciting programs. Barbara has created a dramatization of Ron Balson's newest historical fiction novel, Karolina's Twins, based on the amazing story of a true Holocasust survivor. This program will also be a wonderful Salute to Veterans, as Barbara's father, an Army Medic in WWII, was on the first team of doctors that went into Auschwitz when it was liberated!The Chicago Tribune called this novel "A heart-wrenching but ultimately triumphant story." The other new program for Spring, 2017, is bringing to life The Hamilton Affair by Elizabeth Cobbs!  With all the excitement and fascination of Alexander Hamilton's contributions, struggles and historical significance set to music in the Broadway hit, it makes sense to focus on Hamilton's history, his wife, Eliza, her challenges and the love of our country by our Founding Fathers! Barbara is still presenting the popular, 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 current 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!   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, and a chance to meet Diane Sawyer, Katie Couric and Christiane Amanpour who star in  The News Sorority, The Triumph of Women in TV News by Sheila Weller! 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:       

March 20, 2017 Blake Library 2351 SE Monterey Road, Stuart, Florida 2:00p. Program: The Swans of Fifth Avenue. Contact: Darlene Encomio 772-219-4908 or *tickets required available March 6 for pick up between 4:00-6:00p at the Library.

April 5, 2017 Private Bank Group at Silver Lake CC 14700 South 82nd Avenue, Orland Park, 1:00p. Program: The News Sorority. Contact Christine Andrews 708-671-2343 or

April 6, 2017 Northbrook Book Group Location:Glenview Golf Club. 1:00p. Program: The Hamilton Affair. Contact Judith Connolly 773-631-6788 or

April 7, 2017 Maine Township 1700 Ballard, Park Ridge. 10:00a. Program: Karolina's Twins. Contact Mary Swanson 847-297-2510 xt 240 or

April 11, 2017 Platinum Adventures Location:Ruth Lake Country Club 6200 S Madison, Hinsdale, IL. Afternoon Event. Program: Karolina's Twins. Contact Cathy Bulthuis 630-655-8477 or

April 12, 2017 State Bank Groups Location: TBD. 1:00p. Program:TBD. Contact Kim Knes 847-888-7979

April 18, 2017 Platinum Adventures Location: Marvella's Fox Lake IL. Afternoon Event. Program: TBD. Contact Mary Jo Babiarz 847-838-7030 or

April 19, 2017 Plymouth Place, LaGrange Park, IL. Program: First Women. 10:30am & 2pm programs. Contact Janet: 708-579-2012 or

April 21, 2017 SCC Circle of Giving Luncheon at Kenilworth Club, Kenilworth IL. Luncheon begins at 11:30a. Program: The Hamilton Affair. Contact Nan Krause 847-446-6955 or

April 27, 2017 Chicago North Shore Alumnae Panhellenic Association Location: Highland Park CC 6:00p Program:A Visit with Coco Chanel! Contact Kris Edmonds 847-436-8506 or

May 5, 2017 Destinations With Nadine, Location : Royal Melbourne, Long Grove IL 1:15pm. Program: The Hamilton Affair. Contact Nadine 847-902-8064 or

May 12, 2017 Trinity High School at Oak Park Country Club, Oak Park, IL 10:00am. Program: The Hamilton Affair. Contact Marigayle Harrington 708-453-8328 or





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. Portraits of Courage, George W. Bush
  3. Killing the Rising Sun,  Killing Reagan  & Killing Kennedy, Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard
  4. The News Sorority, Diane Sawyer, Katie Couric, Christiane Amanpour--and the Triumph of Women in TV News, Sheila Weller
  5. Elizabeth the Queen,The Life of a Modern Monarch, Sally Bedell Smith
  6. Hero of the Empire, The Boer War,a Daring Escape and the Making of Winston Churchill, Candice Millard
  7. Settle for More, Megyn Kelly
  8. Finding the Dragon Lady,The Mystery of  Vietnam's Madame Nhu, Monique Brinson Demery
  9. They Are All My Family by John Riordan with Monique Brinson Demery
  10. Hillbilly Elegy,A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis, J.D. Vance
  11. The Wright Brothers and The Path Between the Seas,  David McCullough
  12. Waiting for Snow in Havana, Carlos Eiri
  13. Catherine, the Great: Portrait of a Woman,  Robert K. Massie
  14. Let's Roll: Ordinary People, Estraordinary Courage, Lisa Beamer
  15. The Last Swan, Marella Agnelli
  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. 100 Things Cubs Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die, Jimmy Greenfield
  20. Chicago Cubs 2016 World Series Champions, Official MLB Collector's Edition
  21. Not in Front of the Corgis, Secrets of Life Behind the Royal Curtains, Brian Hoey
  22. Coco Chanel,An Intimate Life, Lisa Chaney
  23. Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption,  Laura Hillenbrand
  24. Steve Jobs  &   Einstein: His Life and Universe, Walter Isaacson
  25. Alexander Hamilton, The Outsider, Jean Fritz (middle school readers)
  26. Jacqueline Kennedy, Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy, foreword by Caroline Kennedy
  27. Mrs. Kennedy and Me, Clint Hill
  28. Who Was William Shakespeare?  , Celeste Mannis (Young Readers)
  29. PAWS Chicago 2017 Calendar - online check
  30. Let Me Tell You About Jasper..., Dana Perino
  31. Aaron and Alexander, The Most Famous Duel in American History, Don Brown (Young Readers)
  32. The Duel, The Parallel Lives of Alexander Hamilton & Aaron Burr, Judith St. George (Young Readers)


  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. Karolina's Twins, Saving Sophie and Once We Were Brothers, Ronald H. Balson
  5. The Hamilton Affair, Elizabeth Cobbs 
  6. The Sympathizer, Viet Thanh Nguyen (Winner of Pulitzer Prize 2016)
  7. TheArt Forger, B.A. Shapiro
  8. Lilac Girls, Martha Hall Kelly
  9. A Gentleman in Moscow and Rules of Civility, Amor Towles
  10. All The Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr (Winner of Pulitzer Prize 2015)
  11. The Nightingale, Kristin Hannah
  12. Eleven Days, Lea Carpenter
  13. Elgible, Curtis Sittenfel
  14. The Door, Magda Szabo
  15. Hot Milk, Deborah Levy
  16. A Man Called Ove, Fredrik Backman
  17. Mademoiselle Chanel: A Novel, C. W. Gortner
  18. The Fortune Hunter, Daisy Goodwin
  19. What the Lady Wants and White Collar Girl, Renee Rosen
  20. Go Set A Watchman and To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee
  21. Me Before You, Jojo Moyes
  22. Wonder, R.J. Palacio (young adult)
  23. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, J.K. Rowling (Ages 8 and up)
  24. Really Important Stuff My Dog Has Taught Me, Cynthia L. Copeland
  25. A Birth Day for Hannah, Linda Petri Bunch (young readers)
  26. Pansy in Venice and Pansy in New York ,Cynthia Bardes (young readers)
  27. Sudi, The Little Black and White Striped Zebra, Susanne Fruehauf (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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