To: Historians (including myself) and other Academic Types who write
From: A PhD candidate who is in the midst of reading 200 books, and who is getting a bit punchy.
Please, when you write books and journal articles, be sure that you know how to count. If you say that you are going to make three points, and then begin the next sentence with the word "First," be sure that the words "second" and "third" appear sometime in the near future. Or that there you make two more discernible points after that. Also look out for the variation that I witnessed today: the "I am concerned with six themes," followed by a five-point list. (I had others look over the list and count as well.)
This tendency is more common than you would think, and has the effect of making the Comps-Reading Student question her sanity. She starts thinking she has missed points, and then spends far too much time obsessively trying to figure out what she has missed. And this is bad, when she needs to be reading a book or two every day.
I promise that I will also watch out for this tendency in my own writing. And that I will seek treatment regarding my obsessive tendencies.