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:  






















Oct.10, 2018, Ridge CC. Program: Mrs. Grant and Madame Jule.Contact:

Oct. 11, 2018, Sunset Ridge CC. Program: Mrs. Grant and Madame Jule. Contact: Laura Wassinger 847-291-2995

Oct. 12, 2018 Winnetka Community House. Program: The Hamilton Affair Contact: Patti Ruiz 847-446-7615 or

Oct. 24, 2018 Biaggi’s. Program: Mrs. Grant and Madame Jule. Contact:Kimberly Knes 847-888-7979 or

Oct. 25, 2018 Conway Farms. Program: Where the Light Falls. Contact: Sharon Collins 847-295-2644 or

Nov. 6, 2018, Quality Inn 800 North Kinzie Route 50 Bradley, IL. Program Mrs. Grant and Madame Jule. Contact: Carol 815-426-2421

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, Katie Nicholl
  5. Fly Girls, How 5 Daring Women Defied All Odds and Made Aviation History, Keith O’Brien
  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. Collision Course, Classic Story of Collision of Andrea Doria & The Stockholm, Alvin Moscow
  10. 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
  11. George and Barbara Bush, A Great American Love Story, Ellie LeBlond Sosa & Kelly Anne Chase
  12. Sisters First, Jenna Bush Hager & Barbara Pierce Bush
  13. Alexander Hamilton, Ron Chernow
  14. The News Sorority, Diane Sawyer, Katie Couric, Christiane Amanpour–and the Triumph of Women in TV News, Sheila Weller
  15. Elizabeth the Queen,The Life of a Modern Monarch,  Sally Bedell Smit
  16. Hero of the Empire, The Boer War,a Daring Escape and the Making of Winston Churchill, Candice Millard
  17. Finding the Dragon Lady,The Mystery of  Vietnam’s Madame Nhu, Monique Brinson Demery
  18. Hillbilly Elegy,A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis, J.D. Vance
  19. Make Your Bed, Admiral William H. McRaven
  20. The Wright Brothers , The Path Between the Seas and The American Spirit, David McCullough
  21. Catherine, the Great: Portrait of a Woman,  Robert K. Massie
  22. Educated, A Memoir, Tara Westover
  23. Let’s Roll: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Courage, Lisa Beamer
  24. The Good Son: JFK Jr. and the Mother He Loved, Christopher Andersen
  25. Not in Front of the Corgis, Secrets of Life Behind the Royal Curtains, Brian Hoey
  26. What Your Dog’s Breed Says About You, Jo Hoare
  27. Coco Chanel,An Intimate Life, Lisa Chaney
  28. The Chicago Picasso, Patricia Balton Stratton
  29. Sisters & Champions, The True Story of Venus and Serena Williams, Howard Bryant (young readers)
  30. Alexander Hamilton, The Outsider, Jean Fritz (middle school)
  31. Aaron and Alexander, The Most Famous Duel in American History, Don Brown (Young Readers)
  32. Harmony, A Vision for Our Future, The Prince of Wales(Young Readers)


  1. Mrs. Grant and Madame Jule, Jennifer Chiaverini
  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. When Life Gives You Lululemons, Lauren Weisberger
  9. The Great Alone, Kristin Hannah
  10. Woman in the Window, A. J. Finn
  11. Pachinko, Min Jin Lee
  12. The Swans of Fifth Avenue and Girls in the Picture, Melanie Benjamin
  13. Karolina’s Twins, Saving Sophie, The Trust and Once We Were Brothers, Ronald H. Balson
  14. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, Taylor Jenkins Reid
  15. The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane, Lisa See
  16. Manhattan Beach, Jennifer Egan
  17. Warlight, Michael Ondaatje
  18. Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine, Gail Honeyman
  19. A Gentleman in Moscow and Rules of Civility, Amor Towles
  20. All The Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr (Winner of Pulitzer Prize 2015)
  21. The Nightingale, Kristin Hannah
  22. The Woman in the Castle, Jessica Shattuck
  23. Lincoln in the Bardo, George Saunders
  24. Mademoiselle Chanel: A Novel, C. W. Gortner
  25. The Fortune Hunter, Daisy Goodwin
  26. Wonder, R.J. Palacio (young readers or adults)
  27. I Will See You in Heaven,  Friar Jack Wintz
  28. The Story Orchestra, The Nutcracker, Illustrated by Jessica Courtney-Tickle (music)
  29. A Raid of No Return, Nathan Hales (Young Readers)
  30. Sudi, The Little Black and White Striped Zebra, Susanne Fruehauf (young readers)
  31. Our Great Big Backyard, Laura Bush and Jenna Bush Hager (young readers)
  32. Poems to Learn by Heart and A Family of Poems, Caroline Kennedy

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