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. 14, 2018, Maine Township. Program TBD. Contact: Monica – 847-297-2510 x252



Non Fiction:

  1. Prince Charles:The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life, Sally Bedell Smith
  2. Megan, A Hollywood Princess, Andrew Morton
  3. Leonardo Da Vinci, Einstein, His LIfe and Universe, & Steve Jobs, Walter Isaacson
  4. Rocket Men: The Daring Odyssey of Apollo 8, Robert Kurson
  5. Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX and the Quest for a Fantastic Future, Ashlee Vance
  6. Beauty in the Broken Places, a memoir by Allison Pataki (coming May 1st, 2018)
  7. 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
  8. George and Barbara Bush, A Great American Love Story, Ellie LeBlond Sosa & Kelly Anne Chase
  9. Sisters First, Jenna Bush Hager & Barbara Pierce Bush
  10. Alexander Hamilton,Grant, Ron Chernow
  11. The News Sorority, Diane Sawyer, Katie Couric, Christiane Amanpour–and the Triumph of Women in TV News, Sheila Weller
  12. Elizabeth the Queen,The Life of a Modern Monarch,  Sally Bedell Smith
  13. Harmony, A New Way of Looking at Our World, The Prince of Wales
  14. Hero of the Empire, The Boer War,a Daring Escape and the Making of Winston Churchill, Candice Millard
  15. Finding the Dragon Lady,The Mystery of  Vietnam’s Madame Nhu, Monique Brinson Demery
  16. Becoming Grandma, Lesley Stahl
  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. These Few Precious Days, The Final Year of Jack with Jackie,
  23. The Good Son: JFK Jr. and the Mother He Loved, Christopher Andersen
  24. Won for the Ages, How the Chicago Cubs Became the 2016 World Series Champions,Chicago Tribune
  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. It’s Your World, Get Informed, Get Inspired, & Get Going! Chelsea Clinton
  30. Alexander Hamilton, The Outsider, Jean Fritz (middle school readers)
  31. Jacqueline Kennedy, Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy, foreword by Caroline Kennedy
  32. PAWS Chicago 2018 Calendar – online check
  33. Aaron and Alexander, The Most Famous Duel in American History, Don Brown (Young Readers)
  34. Harmony, A Vision for Our Future, The Prince of Wales(Young Readers)


  1.  Where the Light Falls, A Novel of the French Revolution  by Allison Pataki and Owen Pataki
  2. The Traitor’s Wife, The Accidental Empress & Sisi, The Empress on Her Own, Allison Pataki
  3. The Hamilton Affair, Elizabeth Cobbs
  4. Mrs. Grant and Madame Jule, Jennifer Chiaverini
  5. Little Fires Everywhere, Celeste Ng
  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.  Saints for All Occasions, J. Courtney Sullivan
  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. The Door, Magda Szabo
  23. Lincoln in the Bardo, George Saunders
  24. A Man Called Ove, Fredrik Backman
  25. Mademoiselle Chanel: A Novel, C. W. Gortner
  26. The Fortune Hunter, Daisy Goodwin
  27. Me Before You, Jojo Moyes
  28. Wonder, R.J. Palacio (young readers or adults)
  29. I Will See You in Heaven,  Friar Jack Wintz
  30. The Land of Stories, Worlds Collide, Chris Colfer (Ages 10 to 12)
  31. The Story Orchestra, The Nutcracker, Illustrated by Jessica Courtney-Tickle (music)
  32. A Birth Day for Hannah, Linda Petrie Bunch (young readers)
  33. A Raid of No Return, Nathan Hales (Young Readers)
  34. Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life, Wendy Mass (Young Readers)
  35. Atrocious Poems A to Z, Thomas L.Vaultonburg and Jenny Mathews (young readers)
  36. Sudi, The Little Black and White Striped Zebra, Susanne Fruehauf (young readers)
  37. Our Great Big Backyard, Laura Bush and Jenna Bush Hager (young readers)
  38. Poems to Learn by Heart and A Family of Poems, Caroline Kennedy

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