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, 2018, will be a program on Ulysses S. Grant and his wife Julia, based on a wonderful historical novel, Mrs. Grant and Madame Jule by Jennifer Chiaverini. Barbara is currently presenting a timely program on the wonderful, fascinating, enlightening biography, Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life by gifted historical author Sally Bedell Smith!  This book presents a fine portrait of the man who will be King–Princess Diana, Camilla, Princess Kate and now Meghan, Prince Harry’s bride, will appear to shed light on the true personality of His Royal Highness! New for Spring, 2018, Barbara has been bringing to life Where the Light Falls, A Novel of the French Revolution by Allison Pataki and Owen Pataki. This terrific combination of dynamic historical and fictional characters make the challenges of the quest for Liberty, Equality and Fraternity come truly to life–Vive La France! Barbara’s other current program is a dramatization of 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! Favorite characters from past dramatizations such as Jackie Kennedy, Coco Chanel and Diane Sawyer might also make program appearances! 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:  






















Sept. 7, 2018, Glenview Senior Center. Program: Mrs. Grant and Madame Jule. Contact: Denise Blinick – or (847)724-4793

Sept. 16, 2018, Stevenson High School Foundation. Program: The Hamilton Affair. Contact: or (847) 415-4006

Oct. 5, 2018, Howard Area Community Center Group at Evanston CC. Program: Where the Light Falls. Contact: Basia Brown, (773) 262-6622 or

Oct.10, 2018, Ridge CC. Program TBD. Contact:

Nov. 16, 2018, Maine Township. Program Mrs. Grant and Madame Jule. Contact: Monica – 847-297-2510 x252


Non Fiction:

  1. Grant,  Ron Chernow
  2. Prince Charles:The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life, Sally Bedell Smith
  3. Megan, A Hollywood Princess, Andrew Morton
  4. Harry, Life, Loss and Love, Ktie Nicholl
  5. Leonardo Da Vinci, Einstein, His LIfe and Universe, & Steve Jobs, Walter Isaacson
  6. Rocket Men: The Daring Odyssey of Apollo 8, Robert Kurson
  7. Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX and the Quest for a Fantastic Future, Ashlee Vance
  8. Beauty in the Broken Places, a memoir by Allison Pataki (coming May 1st, 2018)
  9. 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
  10. George and Barbara Bush, A Great American Love Story, Ellie LeBlond Sosa & Kelly Anne Chase
  11. Sisters First, Jenna Bush Hager & Barbara Pierce Bush
  12. Alexander Hamilton, Ron Chernow
  13. The News Sorority, Diane Sawyer, Katie Couric, Christiane Amanpour–and the Triumph of Women in TV News, Sheila Weller
  14. Elizabeth the Queen,The Life of a Modern Monarch,  Sally Bedell Smit
  15. Hero of the Empire, The Boer War,a Daring Escape and the Making of Winston Churchill, Candice Millard
  16. Finding the Dragon Lady,The Mystery of  Vietnam’s Madame Nhu, Monique Brinson Demery
  17. Hillbilly Elegy,A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis, J.D. Vance
  18. Make Your Bed, Admiral William H. McRaven
  19. The Wright Brothers , The Path Between the Seas and The American Spirit, David McCullough
  20. Catherine, the Great: Portrait of a Woman,  Robert K. Massie
  21. Let’s Roll: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Courage, Lisa Beamer
  22. The Good Son: JFK Jr. and the Mother He Loved, Christopher Andersen
  23. Not in Front of the Corgis, Secrets of Life Behind the Royal Curtains, Brian Hoey
  24. What Your Dog’s Breed Says About You, Jo Hoare
  25. Coco Chanel,An Intimate Life, Lisa Chaney
  26. The Chicago Picasso, Patricia Balton Stratton
  27. Sisters & Champions, The True Story of Venus and Serena Williams, Howard Bryant (young readers)
  28. Alexander Hamilton, The Outsider, Jean Fritz (middle school)
  29. Aaron and Alexander, The Most Famous Duel in American History, Don Brown (Young Readers)
  30. Harmony, A Vision for Our Future, The Prince of Wales(Young Readers)


  1. Mrs. Grant and Madame Jule, Jennifer Chiaveri
  2. Where the Light Falls, A Novel of the French Revolution  by Allison Pataki and Owen Pataki
  3. The Traitor’s Wife, The Accidental Empress & Sisi, The Empress on Her Own, Allison Pataki
  4. The Hamilton Affair, Elizabeth Cobbs
  5. Unconditional Surrender, The Romance of Julia and Ulysses S. Grant, Patricia Cameron
  6. Circe, Madeline Miller
  7. The Perfect Couple, Elin Hilderbrand
  8. The Great Alone, Kristin Hannah
  9. Woman in the Window, A. J. Finn
  10. Pachinko, Min Jin Lee
  11. The Swans of Fifth Avenue and Girls in the Picture, Melanie Benjamin
  12. Karolina’s Twins, Saving Sophie, The Trust and Once We Were Brothers, Ronald H. Balson
  13. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, Taylor Jenkins Reid
  14. The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane, Lisa See
  15. Manhattan Beach, Jennifer Egan
  16. Behold the Dreamers, Imbolo Mbue
  17. Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine, Gail Honeyman
  18. A Gentleman in Moscow and Rules of Civility, Amor Towles
  19. All The Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr (Winner of Pulitzer Prize 2015)
  20. The Nightingale, Kristin Hannah
  21. The Woman in the Castle, Jessica Shattuck
  22. Lincoln in the Bardo, George Saunders
  23. A Man Called Ove, Fredrik Backman
  24. Mademoiselle Chanel: A Novel, C. W. Gortner
  25. The Fortune Hunter, Daisy Goodwin
  26. Me Before You, Jojo Moyes
  27. Wonder, R.J. Palacio (young readers or adults)
  28. I Will See You in Heaven,  Friar Jack Wintz
  29. The Land of Stories, Worlds Collide, Chris Colfer (Ages 10 to 12)
  30. The Story Orchestra, The Nutcracker, Illustrated by Jessica Courtney-Tickle (music)
  31. A Birth Day for Hannah, Linda Petrie Bunch (young readers)
  32. A Raid of No Return, Nathan Hales (Young Readers)
  33. Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life, Wendy Mass (Young Readers)
  34. Atrocious Poems A to Z, Thomas L.Vaultonburg and Jenny Mathews (young readers)
  35. Sudi, The Little Black and White Striped Zebra, Susanne Fruehauf (young readers)
  36. Our Great Big Backyard, Laura Bush and Jenna Bush Hager (young readers)
  37. Poems to Learn by Heart and A Family of Poems, Caroline Kennedy

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