First off, let's say you've rooted and installed some basics gapps. I found that some things seems to cause some pretty fierce battery drain (I remember on my G1 that calendar sync was buggy, resulting in constant syncing attempts and bad battery drain). Now this is on a per-user basis, but I basically removed everything but the core gapps files and gmail. Here's a list of stuff you can "safely" remove (remember, ALWAYS backup).
I've tried them all, but the ADW with the minimalistic black theme is the best IMO. You can make the background white of the app drawer, remove all but one page, and turn off everything that moves (I set all the options to max/0 to ensure that I do not see any animations of any sort).
So depending on how you achieved root, you may or may not have button savior installed. I didn't want extra stuff cluttering up my screen, so I removed it. For those of you who want a high contrast eink button savior, you've got it here. Buy the pro and support the dev. If you want to use the hardware buttons, you have to get this (which you may already have if you have rooted via Nooter).
I set the top left button as back, top right as menu, bottom left as pagedown, and bottom right as pageup. The page up and page down are from the normal left side, so they appear as LEFT_PAGEDOWN and LEFT_PAGERIGHT. I also disabled the BN menu when you press the N and made it just go to ADW.
Sorry to disappoint, but since I want to get rid of as many distractions as possible, I only have a few:
Android PDF Reader: Has optimizations for eink devices, is quick to redraw, and page up and down work.
Sparse RSS: I've been working with the dev and have gotten page up/down to work. I have a dev build if interested, but I'm sure he'll publish an update soon with it working on the market (1.3.1 does not work, but the next version should have the fix).
Some of the other random eink optimized apps floating around the Apps section here.
SetCPU: Allows for changing the governor and you can underclock if you wish. I have to 600 MHz, and it's fine for reading. I setup the scale up preference to 80, and the Powersaving Bias to 300. Feel free to look up and mess around with these...it's pretty safe.
Coolreader: Has some nice eink optimized settings (can change how the page is partially refreshed/how often/etc. You can also set it as the main reader app in the NookSimple Tools apps, so when you click the book in the top left if opens Coolreader. The standard BN library and reader aren't bad, though (except for PDFs that are not meant for reflow, like tech. documents).