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 Holocaust 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 programentitled, “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 ofThe 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
Email: barrar1@aol.com
Programs Open to the Public:      
April 11, 2017 Platinum Adventures Location:The Drake Hotel in Oak Brook, IL. Afternoon Event. Program: Karolina’s Twins.Contact Cathy Bulthuis 630-655-8477 or cbulthiuis@hinsdalebank.com
April 12, 2017 State Bank Groups Location: Biaggi’s Algonquin, IL 1:00p. Program:Circling the Sun. Contact Kim Knes 847-888-7979
April 18, 2017 Platinum Adventures Location: Marvella’s Fox Lake IL. Afternoon Event. Program: A Visit with Coco Chanel! Contact Mary Jo Babiarz 847-838-7030 or mbabiarz@sbotl.com
April 19, 2017 Plymouth Place, LaGrange Park, IL. Program: First Women. 10:30am & 2pm programs. Contact Janet: 708-579-2012 orjanetmedermed@gmail.com
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 nkrause@northshoresamaritan.org
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 kmedmonds2@aol.com
May 5, 2017 Destinations With Nadine, Location : Royal Melbourne, Long Grove IL 1:15pm. Program: The Hamilton Affair. Contact Nadine 847-902-8064 or DestinationsWithNadine@gmail.com
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 mharrington@trinityhs.org


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. Alexander Hamilton, Ron Chernow
  4. Killing the Rising Sun,  Killing Reagan  & Killing Kennedy, Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard
  5. The News Sorority, Diane Sawyer, Katie Couric, Christiane Amanpour–and the Triumph of Women in TV News, Sheila Weller
  6. Elizabeth the Queen,The Life of a Modern Monarch, Sally Bedell Smith
  7. Hero of the Empire, The Boer War,a Daring Escape and the Making of Winston Churchill, Candice Millard
  8. Settle for More, Megyn Kelly
  9. Finding the Dragon Lady,The Mystery of  Vietnam’s Madame Nhu, Monique Brinson Demery
  10. Becoming Grandma, Lesley Stahl
  11. Hillbilly Elegy,A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis, J.D. Vance
  12. Make Your Bed, Admiral William H. McRaven
  13. The Wright Brothers and The Path Between the Seas,  David McCullough
  14. Waiting for Snow in Havana, Carlos Eiri
  15. Catherine, the Great: Portrait of a Woman,  Robert K. Massie
  16. Let’s Roll: Ordinary People, Estraordinary Courage, Lisa Beamer
  17. The Last Swan, Marella Agnelli
  18. New York City in 3D (With Built in Stereoscope Viewer) by Voyager Press
  19. These Few Precious Days, The Final Year of Jack with Jackie, Christopher Andersen
  20. Rosemary, The Hidden Kennedy, Kate Larson
  21. The Good Son: JFK Jr. and the Mother He Loved, Christopher Andersen
  22. 100 Things Cubs Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die, Jimmy Greenfield
  23. Chicago Cubs 2016 World Series Champions, Official MLB Collector’s Edition
  24. Not in Front of the Corgis, Secrets of Life Behind the Royal Curtains, Brian Hoey
  25. Coco Chanel,An Intimate Life, Lisa Chaney
  26. It’s Your World, Get Informed, Get Inspired, & Get Going! Chelsea Clinton
  27. Steve Jobs  &   Einstein: His Life and Universe, Walter Isaacson
  28. Alexander Hamilton, The Outsider, Jean Fritz (middle school readers)
  29. Jacqueline Kennedy, Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy, foreword by Caroline Kennedy
  30. PAWS Chicago 2017 Calendar – online check pawschicago.org
  31. Let Me Tell You About Jasper…, Dana Perino
  32. Aaron and Alexander, The Most Famous Duel in American History, Don Brown (Young Readers)
  33. 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 Paris Architect, Charles Belfoure
  6. The Hamilton Affair, Elizabeth Cobbs
  7. The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane, Lisa See
  8. The Sympathizer, Viet Thanh Nguyen (Winner of Pulitzer Prize 2016)
  9. TheArt Forger, B.A. Shapiro
  10. Lilac Girls, Martha Hall Kelly
  11. A Gentleman in Moscow and Rules of Civility, Amor Towles
  12. All The Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr (Winner of Pulitzer Prize 2015)
  13. The Nightingale, Kristin Hannah
  14. Eleven Days, Lea Carpenter
  15. Elgible, Curtis Sittenfel
  16. The Door, Magda Szabo
  17. Lincoln in the Bardo, George Saunders
  18. A Man Called Ove, Fredrik Backman
  19. Mademoiselle Chanel: A Novel, C. W. Gortner
  20. The Fortune Hunter, Daisy Goodwin
  21. What the Lady Wants and White Collar Girl, Renee Rosen
  22. Go Set A Watchman and To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee
  23. Me Before You, Jojo Moyes
  24. Wonder, R.J. Palacio (young adult)
  25. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, J.K. Rowling (Ages 8 and up)
  26. Really Important Stuff My Dog Has Taught Me, Cynthia L. Copeland
  27. A Birth Day for Hannah, Linda Petri Bunch (young readers)
  28. Pansy in Venice and Pansy in New York ,Cynthia Bardes (young readers)
  29. Sudi, The Little Black and White Striped Zebra, Susanne Fruehauf (Young Readers)
  30. Our Great Big Backyard, Laura Bush and Jenna Bush Hager (young readers)
  31. Poems to Learn by Heart and A Family of Poems, Caroline Kennedy