In "Magpies," Lynne Barrett's characters move from the internet's fragmented pages to a gossip columnist's sweet poison to an ABCs of a hurricane season. These stories explore storytelling as a means of connection, betrayal and survival for characters who learn, sometimes too late, the value of what's grasped and what's lost. Ms. Barrett is to be joined by the artist whose painting is on the cover, Sterling Mulbry. They will discuss where art and books meet, on covers, including paintings of books. 7:30 p.m. Books & Books Bal Harbour Shops, 9700 Collins Ave., Bal Harbour. Details: (305) 864-4241 or www.booksandbooks.com.
Eric Weiner embarks on a spiritual voyage experiencing different religions in "Man Seeks God: My Flirtations with the Divine." He travels extensively to places such as Israel, China, Turkey, Las Vegas and Nepal. 8 p.m. Books & Books, 265 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables. Details: (305) 442-4408 or www.booksandbooks.com.
Anthology "Near Open Water: Stories" focuses on the people of the Caribbean and their dark stories mitigated by beautiful natural surroundings. The characters face problems of freedom, history, race, class, violence, entrapment and morality. Theirs is a region in constant flux, trying to break away from its dehumanizing past while uncertain of how to manage the present and the future. 8 p.m. Books & Books, 265 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables. Details: (305) 442-4408 or www.booksandbooks.com.
PAIR OF GORILLAS
"The Gorilla Man and the Empress of Steak" by Randy Fertel is a New Orleans story, featuring the distinctive culture, color, food and history of the city before and after Hurricane Katrina. The book tells of Ruth Fertel, who founded Ruth's Chris Steak House almost by accident, and of Rodney Fertel, heir to a pawnshop of questionable repute and running for mayor upon the single platform of purchasing gorillas for the zoo, which he did anyway despite losing the race. 8 p.m. Books & Books, 265 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables. Details: (305) 442-4408 or www.booksandbooks.com.
A Wonders of Teaching: Teacher Appreciation Night features Books & Books' children's literature expert Becky Quiroga Curtis and events and marketing director Debra Linn choosing the right books for children with high reading abilities. They'll break down books by age- and reading-level-appropriateness. There will be a wide range of subject matters and age groups. 6:30 p.m. Books & Books Bal Harbour Shops, 9700 Collins Ave., Bal Harbour. Details: (305) 864-4241 or www.booksandbooks.com.
THY KINGDOM COME
"Fathermothergod" is Lucia Greenhouse's story about growing up in Christian Science, in a house where being sick was out of the question and not even aspirin was allowed. As a teenager, her visit to an ophthalmologist created a family crisis. She was a sophomore in college before she had her first annual physical. In December 1985, when Lucia and her siblings, by then young adults, discovered that their mother was sick, they had to face the reality that they had few, if any, options to save her. Powerless as they watched their mother's suffering, Lucia and her siblings struggled with their own grief, anger and confusion, facing scrutiny from the doctors to whom their parents finally allowed them to turn and from relatives who didn't share their parents' religious values. 8 p.m. Books & Books, 265 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables. Details: (305) 442-4408 or www.booksandbooks.com.
"Running the Rift" tells of Jean Patrick Nkuba, a gifted Rwandan boy, from the day he knows that running will be his life to the moment he must run to save his life, a ten-year span in which his country is undone by the Hutu-Tutsi tensions in what became the Rwandan genocide. 8 p.m. Books & Books, 265 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables. Details: (305) 442-4408 or www.booksandbooks.com.
"Outthink the Competition" presents stories of breakthrough companies like Apple, Google, Vistaprint and Rosetta Stone whose success stories inspire readers to outthink the competition. Written by Kaihan Krippendorff, blogger and former McKinsey consultant. 6:30 p.m. Books & Books, 265 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables. Details: (305) 442-4408 or www.booksandbooks.com.