As February is the "I love to read" month, my youngest daughter brought home a paper for me to fill out: what was my favorite novel I read while in elementary school?
This one was difficult to put a finger on at first, because I first started reading Stephen King (Salem's Lot and Cujo to start with) in those years. I also read 2-3 Sidney Sheldon novels in 5th-6th grade as well--not really the most appropriate but hey I'm still a well-mannered functioning male so it didn't really scar me that much.
Then, I came to my decision: The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks
Although I didn't know it at the time, it was full of similarities to Lord of the Rings. Even so, it was my first novel I read that was considered an epic fantasy.
And I loved epic fantasy ever since.