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What's the structure and meaning of this sentence in the following text:

A friend lent this to me before I headed over to Italy and France this summer. I was a bit skeptical at first as he's heavily into the technical aspects of architecture. However, this book is anything but.

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Per my comment under Third Idiot's answer, this extract is poor quality writing. I would not advise it be used by anyone wishing to enhance their understanding of the English language. –  FumbleFingers May 26 '11 at 1:10

2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

"This [object] is anything but" is another way of saying "This is nothing like what I had initially thought about .. [that object]"

So the author thought the book given by his friend would not be to his liking, as the donor was "heavily into the technical aspects of architecture" and he was pleasantly surprised when that was not the case. The book was not as bad as he thought.

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...at first as he's heavily into the technical aspects of architecture. However, this book is anything but.

The sentence you italicized is saying the books is anything but "heavily into technical aspects of architecture.

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Idiot: I agree absolutely with your parsing there. However I do feel the original text is somewhat less than sparkling prose. First we have a friend who's heavily into..., which is perfectly valid, although a bit 'slangy'. But then that's juxtaposed with a book being heavily into..., which quite frankly is a metaphor too far for me in this context. Books are inanimate - they can't really be into anything, let alone heavily. –  FumbleFingers May 25 '11 at 22:59
    
+1 @FumbleFingers Makes sense! –  Thursagen May 26 '11 at 0:56

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