Another one of the books everyone I knew growing up read and loved and that I never got around to myself is Fred Saberhagen's Empire of the East. Presented as a single, big book, it's really an omnibus comprised of three novels: The Broken Lands (1968), The Black Mountains (1971), and Changeling Earth (1973). I even bought a copy some years ago, but I lost it or traded it in or something or other. Whatever happened, I don't have it anymore. Well, until yesterday when I grabbed a copy in THE GREATEST USED BOOK STORE IN THE WORLD (which I'll talk about later).
I started reading it almost at once, and so far it's great. Very iconic stuff -- young boy, family murdered by villains, mentoring wizard, etc. Saberhagen isn't the most poetic of writers, instead writing in a clean, contemporary style. It's appropriate for a story that isn't pure fantasy, but one set in a post-apocalyptic super-science and magical setting.
The Broken Lands
The Black Mountains
Empire of the East