I have ten recs, split into three different themes. Consider this the Whitman's Sampler edition.
Theme One: Anthologies. A good podfic anthology can open up new worlds for the listener in terms of finding readers, writers, and even fandoms to follow. There are several really great anthologies out there, but I'm going to highlight two.
Looking In, put together by the mods at spn_podzine . riverbella , roque_clasique , i_speak_tongue , and helloapollo all lent their considerable skills to reading what are still some of my favorite stories in SPN fandom. Highlights include Parental Instincts, written by dodger_winslow and read by riverbella , and Modulus of Rupture, written and read by i_speak_tongue , but every story in this collection knocked my socks off. They all share the theme of an outsider’s point of view into the Supernatural world, and they are all by turns heartbreaking, hilarious, and deeply insightful.
mp3 | m4b | SPN | gen
Awesome Ladies Podfic Anthology. podklb put this together for halfamoon . It’s a collection of ficlets from the Awesome Ladies Ficathon and its RPF counterpart, and it includes 19 readers reading 73 stories from 41 fandoms. Disclosure: I am one of the readers, but I swear I’d rec this no matter what. My favorites in the anthology include I Live By Science Alone, written by petitesmorts and read by cantarina1 (Gilmore Girls, Paris/Jess), and Walked In On A Plan, written by omfgsh and read by jenepel (Gossip Girl, Nelli Yuki), among many others. You really don’t have to know all the fandoms to get a lot out of this collection.
mp3 | m4b | multiple fandoms | multiple pairings/ratings
Which leads me right into:
Theme Two: Not My Fandom. Some podfics are recced so often, or sound so intriguing, that it doesn't matter if you're not into the fandom or unfamiliar with the canon. I'm unlikely to jump into any of the fandoms included below, but these podfics impressed the hell out of me. The stories are fantastic, and the recordings all showcase in their own way the creative potential of podfic as a medium.
Written By The Victors, written by speranza and read by a large group of talented readers (produced & edited by lim ). This podfic gets recced all over the place, for good reason. I’m not in SGA fandom at all - I’ve seen maybe three episodes of the show - but I found I didn’t need a lot of familiarity to really enjoy this podfic. It’s a beautiful, epic story, and the production on the podfic is amazing. If you love podfic, I don’t care what your preferred fandoms are - you have to listen to this.
mp3 | m4b | SGA | McKay/Sheppard
Reparo, written amalin and read by pennyplainknits . I’ve read all the Harry Potter books, but haven’t seen the movies and haven’t ventured into the fandom. This story, a Harry/Draco set in the year following The Deathly Hallows, is gorgeous. Everything about it feels right. Grief, loss, loneliness, hope, connection, and redemption all suffuse this story. pennyplainknits does more than read - she performs this podfic, doing all the voices with such remarkable distinction. I especially love her Draco Malfoy.
mp3 | m4b | HP | Harry/Draco
Queensguard, written by aramuin and read by another large, talented cast (produced & edited by pandarus ). I’m in SPN fandom, but I don’t generally venture into RPF. Just not my thing. This podfic, a J2 AU in which Jared and Jensen are themselves, but in a world where an alien invasion and the revealed existence of dragons put the production of Supernatural on a 3 year hiatus between S4 and S5, is beyond awesome. A real must-listen.
mp3 | m4b | SPN RPF | Jared/Jensen
Ach, des Knaben Augen, written by toomuchplor and read by pennyplainknits , is an Inception Arthur/Eames AU set in a music conservatory. I downloaded it because I was intrigued by the creative use of classical music in the recording, and I wasn’t disappointed. The story is lovely, pennyplainknits reads beautifully, and the seamless way in which the music is incorporated is truly inspired. This is a really recent posting, and I only just finished listening to it, but I knew I had to include it in this post.
link to original post (I can't find the audiofic links to the mp3 or m4b, and am having much confusion) | Inception | Arthur/Eames
Theme Three: Favorites From My Fandom. These are just a few SPN podfics that I adore with all my heart.
Blind Spot, written by pdragon76 and read by twasadark . The recording is over 10 hours long, but it demands your attention the whole way through. It’s gen, set S2-ish, and in addition to featuring a really beautiful depiction of Sam & Dean’s relationship, it includes Meg Masters and Jo Harvelle in some of the best realized characterizations I’ve ever read/heard. twasadark is always fantastic, but in this story I love her especially for her deliciously twisted Meg Masters.
mp3 | m4b | SPN | gen
TheGloriaseries, written by unoshot and read by crinklysolution . This podfic is three stories linked together, three views of Dean, Sam, and Castiel in different moments in time, each connected to a central present. crinklysolution reads so well, differentiating each character from one another in such subtle, yet distinct ways. This podfic also includes what might be my favorite use of sound effects in a story - very unobtrusive, yet grounding each section in its present. Is that a vague enough description? Just go listen to it. It’s awesome.
mp3s | m4b | SPN | gen
The Fundamental Image series, written by rei_c and read by leviticus_lied . Unlike the Gloria series, these haven’t been collected into a single podfic, so maybe this rec is a cheat. Also, only three out of the series have been recorded. Hamartia & Candles can be listened to together, and Noesis is separate. These three are all pre-series stories centered around Sam, each of them exploring his relationship with John and Dean, his destiny, and his faith. They’re beautiful stories, and leviticus_lied reads with such strength and clarity. I want more.
audiofic archive links | SPN | gen
When Heroes Go Down (They Go Down Fast), written by buffyaddict13 and read by emeraldsedai . Inspired by The Stand, this fic is set in an AU that branches off from S2 and populates the post-apocalypse with some of the strongest, most memorable OCs I’ve ever seen. (Those of you who know this story, I think you know who I’m thinking of. When what happened to that character happened? I cried.) emeraldsedai reads so well, with such great pacing and attention to character voice. It’s another long podfic - over 8 hours - but I really didn’t want it to ever end.
mp3 | m4b | SPN | gen